Jerry Jackson

Posts Tagged ‘Algeria’

Reporters Without Borders protests against crackdown on media in Syria

In Activism, Human Rights, Internet Censorship, Military, Society, Syria, World Government, World News on May 5, 2011 at 12:16 am

Reporters Without Borders activists gathered outside the Syrian embassy in Paris at 11 a.m. today, World Press Freedom Day, to protest against the Syrian government’s crackdown on the media.

Chanting “Huriyat Al-Sahafa fi Suriya!” (Freedom of the press in Syria), the demonstrators threw buckets of blue paint at the embassy’s perimeter walls and used the paint to write: “It is ink that should flow, not blood.” Police detained 30 of the press freedom organization’s activists for a few hours.

“Syria is the country that worries us most at the moment,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. “No one knows what is going on there. How many of the demonstrators have been killed? How many have been wounded? No one knows because journalists are being prevented from working. Foreign reporters cannot get visas to go there and local journalists are all being jailed or forced to remain silent.”

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Julliard added: “Defending freedom of information in Syria above all means defending the Syrian people’s right to know what is going on in their own country. The government must end this news blackout. Acts of violence are almost certainly taking place at this very moment in Syria but nothing is being reported because the media are banned from going there. This is unacceptable.”

Reporters Without Borders hails the release of Khaled Sid Mohand, an Algerian journalist who had been detained in Syria. It shows that all the demonstrations on his behalf in France and Algeria paid off. Journalists nonetheless continue to be targeted in Syria, as they have been since the start of the wave of protests there. Arrests, physical attacks and deportations are all being used to ensure a complete news blackout.

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The crackdown is continuing. Yesterday, the Syrian writer and journalist Omar Koush was arrested on arrival at Damascus airport after participating in a conference in Turkey, while Al-Jazeera announced that it had lost contact with one of its journalists, Dorothy Parvaz (who has US, Canadian and Iranian citizenship), since her arrival in Damascus on 29 April. Al-Jazeera previously announced on 27 April that it was suspending all activities throughout Syria until further notice because of the many threats and acts of intimidation against its crews.

Three other journalists are currently known to be held by the Syrian authorities. They are Fayez Sara, a Syrian journalist and writer who was arrested on 11 April; Mohamed Zaid Mistou, a Norwegian journalist of Syrian origin, who was arrested on 7 April; and Kamal Sheikhou, a Syrian blogger who was arrested on 15 March.

At the same time, there has been no news of the journalists Akram Abu Safi and Sobhie Naeem Al-Assal since 24 March.

As part of its actions marking World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders today released the 2011 version of its list of Press Freedom Predators, this one with 38 heads of state and warlords who sow terror in the media. The most important changes in this year’s list have been in North Africa and the Middle East, where dramatic and sometimes tragic events have taken place in recent months.


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Internet Restricted in Bahrain as Protest Escalates

In Activism, Internet Censorship, Society, World News on February 23, 2011 at 3:26 am

As protests continue in Bahrain, data suggests that access to many websites has been restricted there.

Arbor Networks, a security research company that tracks Internet traffic, told The New York Times on Friday that traffic into and out of Bahrain has dropped between 10% and 20% below expected levels. Traffic normally only drops that low during natural disasters or global sporting events.

The graph below shows Bahrain’s Internet traffic levels this week compared to average traffic levels during the previous three weeks. The traffic this week has been significantly lower than usual. Arbor Networks told The Times that it couldn’t absolutely rule out technical difficulties as a cause for the drop, though the most likely cause was blocked websites.

A Harvard University website that crowdsources reports of inaccessible webpages shows that many sites, including bahrainonline.org and bahrainrights.org, have been reported to be inaccessible. But almost all of the reports were made before the protests in Bahrain started.

Last month, Egypt blocked websites like Twitter and Facebook in response to unrest before blocking the Internet altogether (See that graph here). The success that Egyptian protesters had in ousting former president Hosni Mubarak despite these drastic digital measures is often cited as enhancing the confidence of protesters in Bahrain, Algeria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

While data suggests that Bahrain is restricting the Internet in response to unrest in the same way Egypt did, Arbor Network’s Internet traffic data shows nothing out of the ordinary in Algeria’s Internet traffic (at least between February 10 and 13).

Internet Censorship in Bahrain.

Internet Censorship in Bahrain

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