The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Casting call for bilingual Arab journalists

Dubai TV and Saudi News Ch 2 English are casting for experienced reporters who can speak English/Arabic to work on upcoming projects with their stations. Job duties include general news gathering, writing, and on-air news reporting.

Interviews are being scheduled for this week from 3pm until 9pm at the Sound View Studio in Long Island City (see below for address). Ideal candidate will have previous broadcast experience.

The address is:

Sound View Studio

36-01 37th Ave,
Long Island City, NY 11101

Monday, August 06, 2007

Morocco censors news weeklies, confiscates papers and charges publisher

Committee to Protect Journalists

330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465­1004 Fax: (212) 465­9568 Web: E-Mail: Contact: Abi Wright
e-mail: Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x-105

Morocco: Government confiscates newsweeklies, charges publisher

New York, August 6, 2007— The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Moroccan government’s seizure of the editions of two independent newsweeklies over the weekend. Authorities alleged that the magazines disrespected King Mohammed VI and violated public morality.

On Saturday, Moroccan police seized copies of the Arabic-language weekly Nichane from newsstands and other locations around the country and confiscated printed copies of its sister weekly, the French-language TelQuel at the printing press used by both magazines, local journalists told CPJ.

“We condemn this act of flagrant censorship and call on Moroccan officials to release both confiscated editions at once,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “The seizure of Nichane and TelQuel is further evidence that press freedom is being sharply eroded as Morocco continues to damage its reputation as a country that tolerates critical journalism.”

Some 50,000 non-assembled copies of TelQuel were destroyed at the printing house, according to sources at TelQuel. Moroccan Prime Minister Driss Jettou announced the Nichane seizure that same day, stating that the magazine had failed to show “due respect” to the king and had published articles “containing expressions contrary to morality that offend the feelings of Muslims.”

Ahmed Benchemsi, publisher of both weeklies, was formally charged earlier today with failing to show “the due respect to the King” under Article 41 of the Moroccan Press Law. He was summoned to appear in court in Casablanca on August 24 and could face between three to five years in prison and a fine up to 100,000 dirhams (US$11,000) if convicted.

An editorial written by Benchemsi and published in Nichane over the weekend triggered the seizures of the two magazines, according to journalists at TelQuel. The editorial took issue with King Mohammed VI’s commitment to democracy and questioned the use of legislative elections slated for September 7, as long as the king firmly controls all powers. The same editorial was slated to run in French in TelQuel until authorities confiscated it. Authorities also objected to an article about sexuality in Arab culture that ran in Nichane.

In a separate development on Monday, police visited the printer of the independent weekly Le Journal Hebdomadaire and demanded to see the magazine’s proofs, several journalists told CPJ. After a six-hour delay police approved printing.

The government previously banned Nichane in December 2006 for allegedly denigrating Islam when the magazine ran a 10-page article analyzing popular jokes about religion, sex, and politics. In January, a court handed down three-year suspended sentences and fines to the paper’s editor and a reporter. TelQuel has also been the target of a numerous politically motivated court judgments because of its political coverage.

Saturday’s seizures came amid growing concerns among Moroccan journalists about press freedom.

A Casablanca court will begin hearing the case on Tuesday of Abderrahim Ariri, publisher the independent weekly Al-Watan Al An and Mostafa Hormatallah, a reporter for the paper. Both were charged in July with possessing classified documents after they published a secret government document regarding terrorist threats against Morocco. Both journalists were arrested in July 17, and Hormatallah remains behind bars.

On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, CPJ designated Morocco as one of the world’s worst backsliders on press freedom. Last month CPJ released a special report noting that press freedoms in Morocco have notably regressed in recent years. Independent journalists have been the targets of a series of politicized court cases, financial pressures, and harassment from authorities.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Iranian journalist sentenced to death in closed trial

Committee to Protect Journalists

330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA Phone: (212) 465­1004 Fax: (212) 465­9568 Web: Contact: Abi Wright
e-mail: Telephone: (212) 465-1004 x105

Iran: Journalist sentenced to death in closed trial

New York, August 6, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the death sentence handed down in mid-July by a revolutionary court against Adnan Hassanpour, a journalist and former editor for the now-defunct Kurdish-Persian weekly Aso, in Iran’s northwestern province of Kurdistan. Iranian Kurdish environmental activist Abdulvahed Butimar was also convicted and sentenced to death.

Hassanpour was convicted of endangering national security and engaging in propaganda against the state, one of his attorneys, Sirvan Hosmandi, told CPJ in a telephone interview conducted Wednesday through an interpreter.

“We are alarmed that this death sentence has been issued in a closed trial,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Iranian authorities must provide a fair and transparent legal process.”

Iranian judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency on Tuesday confirming that both men “have been sentenced to execution on the charge of moharebeh,” The Associated Press reported. In the Iranian Islamic penal code, Moharebeh (fighting with God) is used by the Iranian authorities against persons who allegedly take up arms to violently overthrow the regime. Jamshidi gave the remarks during a weekly news conference, Reuters said. The news agency quoted him as saying that Hassanpour and Butimar “have taken arms to topple the system.”

Hassanpour and Butimar will appeal their sentence to Iran’s Supreme Court, U.S. government-funded Radio Farda reported. Hosmandi told CPJ that both men were currently being held in Kurdistan province’s capital, Sanandaj.

The exact charges and the evidence used to convict the men remain murky. Dr. Roya Toloui, a Kurdish women’s rights activist and journalist currently based in the United States, told CPJ that she suspects Hassanpour’s critical writings are behind the charges that led to his death penalty. Toloui is a former journalist at Aso and a friend of Hassanpour.

The Revolutionary Court has only confirmed the death sentence against Hassanpour and Butimar, but has not publicly provided full information about the basis for its convictions. Hassanpour’s attorneys say the specific charges used to convict their client are not directly related to his journalism.

Security agents seized the reporter in his hometown of Marivan, in the Kurdistan province, on January 25, according to news reports and international human rights organizations. There are conflicting news reports as to the exact date Butimar was arrested, but it was sometime in late December 2006 or early January 2007.

Hassanpour and Butimar were taken to an intelligence ministry jail in Sanandaj and held for several months without charge before being transferred in late March to a prison in Marivan, according to Amnesty International.

Hassanpour worked as an editor for nearly two years at Aso. The weekly was banned in August 2005 following its coverage of violent protests in the Kurdistan area that summer. Hassanpour has a separate, ongoing court case over articles he wrote for Aso.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Eliav Sartawi Awards deadline nears Aug. 15


Search for Common Ground requests submissions for this annual competition to recognise and encourage journalism that contributes to a better understanding among people and to maintaining political dialogue in the Middle East. Awards will be offered for articles published originally in Arabic, in Hebrew and in other languages, including English. The articles must have been published between May 1st, 2006 and August 15th, 2007 in a recognized newspaper, magazine, web-publication or other periodical. Winners in each category will receive a monetary award of $1,000 (one thousand U.S. dollars). An Awards Ceremony will be organised in New York at the Columbia School of Journalism and the School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University in November 2007. Please send submissions BEFORE AUGUST 15, 2007 to .

For details, including the submission process, please visit: