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Unfair Trial on Vague Charge of ‘Acts Against a Foreign State’

(Beirut) – The decision of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) court to sentence a Jordanian resident of the UAE to 10 years in prison in October 2020 was based entirely on peaceful Facebook posts criticizing Jordan’s government, Human Rights Watch said…
Ahmed Etoum
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Free Expression Under Assault

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities should immediately release and drop abusive charges against Emad Hajjaj, a cartoonist, Human Rights Watch said today. Jordanian authorities arrested Hajjaj on August 26, 2020, for publishing a satirical…
Emad Hajjaj
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Teachers’ Syndicate Board Released; Others Still Held

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have exploited the country’s Covid-19 pandemic to forcibly disperse public protests against the arbitrary closure of the country’s Teachers Syndicate and mass arrests of its leadership, Human Rights Watch said today…
 Jordanian police block a road in front of protestors in Irbid, north of Jordan on August 1, 2020.
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Latest Escalation in Media Restrictions

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have used a sweeping gag order, harassment, and arrests to limit media coverage of ongoing protests stemming from the arbitrary closure of the Jordanian Teachers’ Syndicate on July 25, 2020, Human Rights Watch said…
Thousands of Jordanian teachers march from the governorship building to the Professional Unions Complex to demand a reversal of the decision to close the Teachers Union, in Irbid, Jordan on August 01, 2020.
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Government Should Support Independent Media Ahead of Electoral Process

On July 7, Abdiaziz Ahmed Gurbiye, the chief editor and deputy director of the independent Goobjoog Media Group, is expected to appear in court in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. But his case should have never gone this far. On April 14, Abdiaziz…
Somali journalists in Mogadishu, Somalia December 29, 2019. 
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New Penalties for ‘Causing Panic’ About Pandemic

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have arrested media workers and others and issued a vaguely worded emergency decree that could chill online discussion about Jordan’s Covid-19 response, Human Rights Watch said today. Under the…
Jordanian police personnel guard at a checkpoint during the second day of a nationwide curfew, amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Amman, Jordan. © 2020 Reuters
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Targeted for Social Media Criticism, Protests

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities are seeking to limit protests over austerity policies throughout 2019 by targeting protest leaders, participants, and other critics for harassment and…
Mafraq Protests
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Charges Restrict Free Expression

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities have increasingly targeted political and anti-corruption activists on charges that violate the right to free expression, Human Rights Watch said…
Protestor raises the Jordanian flag during 2018 protest in front of the prime ministry building in Amman
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Eliminate Criminal Penalties for Online Defamation

(Amman) – Proposed amendments to Jordan’s 2015 Electronic Crimes Law would overly restrict freedom of expression by stipulating criminal penalties for posting “fake news” or engaging in “hate speech” online, Human Rights Watch said…
Jordanian parliament in session. © 2016 Sam McNeil/AP Images
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3-Year Sentence, Fine Violated Right to Free Expression

(Beirut) – The United Arab Emirates should immediately release Tayseer al-Najjar, a Jordanian journalist who, on December 13, 2018, completed a three-year prison sentence, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders said in a letter to the UAE…
MENA UAE Jordan Journalist Tayseer al-Najjar
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Vague, Restrictive Laws Hamper Freedom of Association

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have threatened a regional media freedom organization based in Jordan over its receipt of foreign funding, Human Rights Watch said today. Jordanian authorities told the Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (…
The Jordanian Parliament in Amman
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Key Provisions that Severely Restrict Speech Remain

When Somalia’s new minister of information took office in March, he promised to review the country’s restrictive media law, raising hopes of fostering a better environment for journalists and free expression in the country. …
Journalists queue for a security sweep outside the venue of the presidential vote at the airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu
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3-Year Sentence for ‘Insulting State Symbols’ on Facebook

(Beirut) – A United Arab Emirates court sentenced a Jordanian journalist on March 15, 2017, to prison and a large fine for “insulting the state’s symbols,” Human Rights Watch said today. The sentence against Tayseer al-Najjar was related to Facebook posts…
MENA UAE Jordan Journalist Tayseer al-Najjar
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Country’s New Leadership Should Ensure Credible Investigation

On Sunday morning, Abdihamid Mohamed Osman, a technician and editor at Universal TV network, was driving to work in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, when a bomb planted in his car exploded. Abdihamid was taken to the hospital, where he is receiving treatment…
The blood stained camera of a photojournalist is seen after a secondary explosion in front of Dayah hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, January 25, 2017.
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Annual Day Promotes Accountability for Attacks on the Media

For reporters at risk around the world – because they’re exposing corruption, covering conflict, or afflicting the comfortable – today matters: it’s the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. You’d think a group of professional…
Somali photojournalist runs for cover while reporting on fighting between the Somali government and African Union forces against the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, April 2012.
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Journalists Live in Fear While Government Promises to Investigate Ring Hollow

Tuesday was yet another bittersweet day for journalists in Somalia. The National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) released Abdi Adan Guled, the editor of  Xog-Ogaal, one of the country’s oldest newspapers. Abdi had been detained for three days…
People read newspapers in Somalia.
News

End Criminalization of Defaming Religion

(Amman) – The prominent Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar was murdered on September 25, 2016, as he entered an Amman court to stand trial for insulting religion. Authorities arrested Hattar on August 13, after he posted an anti-ISIS cartoon to…
MENA Jordan Hattar Photo 27 Sept
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Intelligence Agency Held Policy Center Staff for Nearly a Month

Somalia’s intelligence agency held five staff members of a Mogadishu-based policy center for almost a month. Their experiences – including no access to lawyers and no formal charges – show the agency’s complete disregard for basic due process. The…
Prisoners at Mogadishu Central Prison watch as a guard walks pass their cell in December 2013. Most of the military court’s hearings in Mogadishu take place inside the prison, which limits access to hearings for relatives and independent monitors.
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Summary The authorities, the public, and the militants are all hostile to us. We are like fish in poisonous waters, we can be attacked or killed at any time. Journalist working in Galkayo, February 2015 …