Yemeni press code violates international standards [Archives:2007/1036/Local News]

March 26 2007

SANA'A, March 23 ) In an attempt to reform the Yemeni press code Women Media Forum joined hands with ARTICLE 19, the renowned international organisation concerned with freedom of expression and launched the first meeting for the Media Law Working Group.

Two legal experts, Toby Mendel, Law Programme Director and Daniel Simons, Legal Officer from ARTICLE 19 provided the international picture regarding media legislations, broadcasting regulations and a proposal for a access to information law. Lawyer Khaled Al-Anisi executive director of Hood, a human rights advocacy organsiation in Yemen explained how the press legal framework in Yemen constrains freedoms of expression and in fact violates international laws which Yemen has ratified.

The working group consists of Yemeni MPs, public officials, representatives of the Journalists' Syndicate and leading human rights advocates. The fist meeting which was held last week resulted agreement on the priorities relating to media legislation in Yemen, and those were:

Reform of the Press and Publication Law of 1990 and the provisions in the penal code which restrict the right to publish, adoption of legislation guaranteeing the right of access to information and adoption of legislation to legalise and regular private broadcasting.

This initiative comes under ARTICLE 19 Global Campaign for Free Expression and builds on ongoing involvement by ARTICLE 19 in the reform of the country's Press and Publications Law. The initiative is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy and follows on the G8 'Democracy Assistance Dialogue' (DAD), as part of which Yemen has assumed responsibility for promoting freedom of expression throughout the region. The Group's work aims to set a positive example and follow up on the landmark “DAD Conference on Democracy