Silver LiningChallenging Draft Press Law [Archives:2005/906/Opinion]

December 26 2005

Mohammed Hatem al-Qadhi
[email protected]

The battle for free press is again back to the frontline. The journalists were right when they declared last Thursday the rejection of the draft press and publication law being debated by the Shoura Council. This is because they cannot accept to debate a draft law that already criminalizes them. The draft law in its current form is a real demonstration of the antagonism of the people in charge towards media. The government now shrugs its shoulders in pride of abolishing the jail sentence of journalists. But, this is not the whole question. The other provisions provide the authorities with the opportunities to restrict and even throttle the freedom of journalists. It is not enough to tell the world that you are removing the jail sentence. In fact, the journalists and the world community hailed this decision by President Saleh and were expecting further steps to promote freedom of media including the liberalization of broadcast media. Unfortunately, the outcome was this draft law journalists now call “catastrophic””.

After 15 years of the multi-party system