A Letter to the President from the Article 19 Organization “Stop Press Oppression” [Archives:1999/34/Front Page]

August 23 1999

The Director of the London based Article 19 Organization (International Centre Against Censorship), Mr. Malcom Smart sent a letter to President Saleh regarding the latest incidents against the free press. In its introductory statement, the organization said the following: 
“International law states that everyone should have the right to freedom of expression and access to information. These rights make up the most potent force to pre-empt repression, conflict, war, genocide and underpin and safeguard other fundamental human rights”. In its letter, the organization expressed deep concern over the recent development regarding the oppression of the free press. 
They drove the attention to the last lawsuits issued against two newspaper journalists, namely Al-Ayyam’s chief editor, Hisham Basharaheel, who received a 6 month jail sentence and reporter Ali Haitham Al-Ghareeb received a 10 month jail sentence. The organization described the clear contradiction between what is said by the government and what is implemented in practice, especially since the country had gathered 16 nations in the last Emerging Democracies Forum held in Sana’a. The organization expressed its dissatisfaction with the recent violations against journalists. They stated that such acts discourage journalists of doing their job adequately. Knowing the possibility of being interrogated when writing an article or reporting an incident, these journalists prefer not to do it. In the hope that the leadership would prevent such acts in the future, the organization requested a quick response in cancelling the issued sentences.