Al-Jazeera Maghreb's "Issue of the Night" on 10 June, part of the 2200 gmt news bulletin, was devoted to the issue of "freedom of the press in the Arab Maghreb region and the obstacles facing it". The presenter started his programme by reporting the announcement of the setting up in
An unidentified reporter said that this watchdog "will monitor all violations in the exercise of the profession of journalists" and "will release an annual report on the situation of the Arab press". He added that the watchdog is "a new mechanism to look at violations through Arab eyes".
The reporter then said that
On Algeria, the reporter said that there is not much difference apart from details, and that the private press remains almost the only source of information, and that it is trying "to keep some margin of freedom despite the harassment it is facing from the authorities under various excuses, namely those to do with security and what is termed the red lines".
The guests interviewed tonight are, here in the studio, Mahmoud Maarouf, the head of the Union of the Arab Journalist in the Maghreb;, from Nouakchott Mohamed El-Mokhtar Ould Fal, the head of the Independent Press Union in
The first question is put to Mahmoud who confirms there is a difference between this observatory and other media bodies and organizations. This is an Arab organization and thus it represents all the media organizations and bodies in the Arab world, he said. He also that this observatory would better represent Arab media and journalists, as opposed to foreign media and press organizations which, under the pretext of defending press freedom, would try to put this freedom in a political context to serve other purposes.
Speaking in French, Robert Menard considers that "most of the countries in this region do not respect liberties and freedom of the press". Based on this conclusion, he said, this observatory should impartially denounce all violations and call things with their real names. He also said "we should express our solidarity and help the victims of these violations against freedom of the press". "More than 180 journalists have been killed in
Mahmoud says the current revolution in the audio-visual sector, the press, liberties and human rights should not be without regulation, adding that "I believe the Arab authorities are allowing this kind of anarchy and this kind of press to affect the reputation of journalists in the first place". He said: "We cannot have a democratic and independent press without a democratic and independent society."
Mohamed El-Mokhtar Ould Fal said: "We cannot separate the press from the political, economic and social realities." He added that "despite the government's promise for a more democratic state and transparent elections, yet this political move is not reflected on the Mauritanian press". In fact, he added, there is still little investment in this field which leaves the journalist subject to temptations. He also said "Arabs, because of their culture, do not love freedom, contrary to the West, and prefer the concept of justice. Therefore, freedom is not one of our priorities".
Robert Menard said that "what happened after the military coup in
Source: Al-Jazeera TV,