Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A CPJ Special Report: In Yemen, brutal repression cloaked in law

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ),29/09/2010
New York-Extrajudicial abductions, intimidation, and crude censorship have marked the Yemeni government's record of repression for years, but President Ali Abdullah Saleh's administration is now erecting an elaborate legal structure intended to further restrict news coverage and provide a veneer of legitimacy for its brutal actions, the Committee to Protect Journalists finds in a new report.

"Taken together, the government's longstanding practice of violent repression and its new legalistic tactics are creating the worst climate for press freedom since the country's unification in 1990," CPJ's Mohamed Abdel Dayem writes. And in a strategically important country where international extremists have found safe haven, that is an alarming prospect.

The creation of an exceptional court to prosecute so-called press offenses has been the centerpiece of the government's escalating campaign of repression. The effort continues today with an array of legislative proposals that would set prohibitive financial barriers for broadcast and online news outlets, expand the definition of criminal defamation to include virtually any form of criticism of the president, and increase prison terms for critical news coverage to 10 years.

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