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Forum for Media Freedom Defenders continues in the shadow of Razan Ghazzawi's arrest

Forum for Media Freedom Defenders continues in the shadow of Razan Ghazzawi's arrest

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With 120 participants from across the Arab world and beyond, the three-day 'Forum for Media Freedom Defenders in the Arab World' kicked-off on Monday in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

The Forum was organised by the Amman-based Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ), an organisation concerned with protecting Jordanian and Arab journalists and their liberties and rights, in addition to developing the Arab media sector. The event has been funded by The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Amman.

During the first two days, the Forum has conducted open discussion sessions on the role played by the media during the uprisings in the Arab world. The goal is to identify the challenges facing the Arab media and discuss how to create a better future for freedom of expression in the region. The last day of the Forum will be a closed workshop session where participants will form working groups to discuss how to "develop strategies and plans to assist in institutionalising mechanisms of defending media freedom in the Arab world".

The Forum hopes to promote a multi-dimensional debate, bringing together voices from countries undergoing drastic changes as well as participants still living with restricted media freedoms. Speakers include prominent journalists and bloggers, human rights activists and freedom of speech advocates, such as Nagad Burie, an Egyptian human rights lawyer and activist, who spoke at the opening ceremony and highlighted how "state ownership of media outlets influences their reporting, restricting their independence and freedom".

While most of the speakers and participants made it safely to the Forum, prominent Syrian journalist and blogger Razan Ghazzawi was detained by Syrian authorities while on her way to Amman. Ghazzawi's detention raises many questions regarding freedom of expression in the region, and whether there have been any real achievements following the uprisings. A worldwide campaign is being run by Razan's fellow journalists and human rights activists and in a matter of hours, a Facebook page and a Twitter hashtag were set up demanding her immediate release.

Sources: Forum for Media Freedom Defenders, The Jordan Times, #FreeRazan


William Granger's picture

William Granger


2011-12-07 19:35

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