Center for Defending the Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ): We documented 12,597 violations against journalists in the Arab World over the past 4 years, in which 236 journalists were killed.
- CDFJ has established 3 legal aid units for journalists in Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.
- CDFJ contributed to developing professionalism and took the initiative to from the first network of trainers from among journalists and lawyers.
- CDFJ started issuing a report on the status of media freedoms in Jordan 15 years ago, and continue for the fourth year to issue its annual report on the Arab World.
Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists emphasized it continues work toward ensuring the preservation of media freedoms in the Arab World.
CDFJ said in its statement that was issued on the 18th anniversary of its establishment that “the challenges, pressures, and violations facing the Arab World have increased instead of being dedicate as guaranteed rights for the journalists and the society.”
The statement went on to say that “the profession of media practice has become a crime among some governments throughout the Arab World, and many countries in our region have been classified as the most dangerous to journalists.”
Over the past 18 years of its work, CDFJ has dedicated the institutionalization of providing legal aid to journalists besides monitoring and documenting violations against journalists.”
Since 2001, CDFJ established the Media Legal Aid Unit for Journalists “MELAD” which worked on providing legal aid and representing journalists before courts in hundreds of cases in Jordan. It also contributed effectively in creating a young generation of lawyers specialized in media cases in the Arab World, and contributed to the establishment of a unit for legal aid to journalists in Egypt in 2012, and in Morocco around the same time.
“MELAD” has worked diligently to communicate with the judicial authority and had held workshops to exchange expertise to enhance the knowledge and skills of judges in dealing with media cases.
CDFJ never stopped monitoring violations against the media. It has continued over the past 15 years to issue a report on the status of media freedoms in Jordan that has become the primary reference to identify the reality and state of the media, and the problems that was exposed to it.
In 2011, and with the start of what was referred to as “the Arab Spring,” CDFJ took a courageous step by establishing “SANAD,” the Media Freedoms Defenders Network in the Arab World, which it is still managed and supervised by CDFJ until now. SANAD has also adopted publishing an annual report that documents the status of media freedoms in the Arab World and monitoring all violations against journalists in it. Since then, CDFJ has so far published 4 regular reports that were considered as a reference documents prepared for the first time by a civil society organization in the Arab World, after this activity was restricted, for long decades, to the international institutions that are active in the field of freedom of expression and media freedom.
SANAD reports have documented, over the past four years, 12,597 violations in the Arab countries, and revealed the killing of 236 journalists, and 116 failed assassination attempts. 152 cases for kidnap and forced disappearance for journalists was also documented, and reports recorded 707 injuries sustained by over than 600 male and female journalists.
The documented information by SANAD show that 88 journalists were subjected to torture in most of the Arab countries, and that 58 journalists were imprisoned and 726 were arbitrarily arrested because of their media work.
CDFJ’s preoccupation with the priorities of protecting journalists and providing legal aid to them did not hider it from seriously contributing and working to develop the status of professionalism. CDFJ has been a pioneer in working in most of the Arab countries, and has trained over thousands of journalists during its long years in various projects and programs, perhaps the most important was “Investment in Future” program, in partnership with the Dutch “Free Voice” institution. The program lasted from 2005 until the end of 2010 and included Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Bahrain, and Yemen, and has been the cornerstone in the formation of an elite group of media trainers and lawyers who continue to be most present and active until now.
CDFJ’s Executive President Nidal Mansour emphasizes that credit for CDFJ’s status after its 18-year journey goes to all those who believed in its mission and role, and supported it to face and overcome the challenges. He expressed his deep appreciation to them and to all of the international organizations and donors who provided support, advice, and criticism.
Mansour also announced the production of a documentary titled “Journey Towards Freedom,” which tells the story of CDFJ’s journey in defending the media freedom. As he called for supporting its promotion.
Mansour emphasized that the march to defend the media freedoms does not stop, and requires the solidarity of efforts and partnerships among all those who believe in freedoms and the right of society to a free media that reports knowledge and truth.