14 Dec. 2013
The Press Freedom Advocacy Association participated in the conference of the Middle East and North Africa region and the Group of Eight (Bmena), which was held in the capital of Jordan, Amman last week.
During the past few days, the conference has discussed many themes related to the freedom of expression, such as:
– Freedom of the press and its independence, and the need of non-interference by the authorities in the work of the press.
– The safety of journalists and prosecute their killers and the necessity to stop the issue of killers impunity.
– The right of access to the information and the right to spread it by any means, according to international standards, and the need to approve the first Protocol to the Convention on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Liberties by the Middle East countries.
– The Inherited Laws from the previous dictatorship era and the need to be repealed or amended.
– National laws in the countries of the Middle East and the need to be consent to the international standards
– They also reviewed other issues such as the peaceful demonstrations and the need to make the government authorities understand these demonstrations as a right and that their role is limited to provide protection for the demonstrators and not to prevent them or linking the right to demonstrate to prior approvals and permissions and licenses instead it should be limited to acknowledge the authorities of the time and place of the demonstration and commit of keeping it as a peaceful demonstration and not to raise violence or hatred.
Oday Hatem, the president of the Press Freedom Advocacy Association, said that “the recommendations that came out of the conference were very good and positive for the development of democratic transformation in Iraq and the countries of the region”. He added “The most important features of this conference is the principle of partnership between governments and civil society organizations in decision-making and legislation that promote freedom of the press and freedom of expression, and not vice versa,” stressing that ” the system of laws and legislations in Iraq and the region needs to have a sincere intention by governments, especially since those countries are still using the inherited laws that is not compatible with the supposed turn toward democracy “. Oday Hatem who represented the Press Freedom Advocacy Association in the conference (Bmena) pointed out that ” the ratification of international treaties and agreements is not enough without applying those treaties through including them into the national legislation , especially since Iraq and some other countries such as Egypt , have ratified Convention on the international Covenant on Civil and Political liberties since the seventies of the last century, but this was not reflected in a positive validation so far on the freedom of the press and freedom of expression”.
It is hoped that the foreign ministers of the Middle East and North Africa countries and in the presence of the foreign ministers of the Group of Eight certifies the recommendations of the civil society organizations, at their next meeting on Tuesday in Cairo.