Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

The New Press Law

Filed under: General, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:09 am on Thursday, April 28, 2005

Theres a proposed new press law in Yemen. This one include websites as well.

YT: Among the taboos and prohibitions that journalists cannot go beyond are; that they can not “criticize the head of the state” as well as “publishing or exchanging anything that directly and personally prejudices monarchs and heads of brotherly and friendly states.” “This draft law released the journalist as an individual from jail, but on the other hand put freedom of speech in a real cage,” Ali al-Jaradi of al-Nass Weekly summarized the demerits of the draft law.

UPdate: proposed law includes Death Penalty for Journalists. Saleh will call it reform.

Although in the new draft, jail sentences have been removed, journalists object to clauses forbidding them from being able to “criticise the head of the state” or “publishing or exchanging anything that directly and personally prejudices monarchs and heads of brotherly and friendly states.”

Reporters say they are also concerned over penalties they could face under the country’s Penal Code, particularly the death sentence.

“We need the penalties in the Penal Code on journalists to be removed too,” Ali said. “A journalist can be fined, sentenced to two years in jail or even death. This is more dangerous,” he added.

The death sentence can in theory be applied in cases where information related to national security or state secrets are published.

The 1990 law bars criticism of the president and lists a wide range of vaguely worded offences that can land a journalist in court and prison, according to international media watchdog organisations.

One such clause is Article 103 which prohibits journalists from publishing articles that “cause tribal, sectarian, racial, regional or ancestral discrimination” or “undermine public morals or prejudices the dignity of individuals or personal freedoms.”

Ali also called for the liberalisation of the broadcast media which, he says, is still being monopolised by the state. He is lobbying for a percentage of newspapers to be independently owned.

also YO.

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