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Press freedom declined in 2013 — study

By Mohammad Ghazal - May 17,2014 - Last updated at May 17,2014

AMMAN — Press freedom declined significantly in 2013 in the Arab world, according to a study by the Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists’ Network For Media Freedom Defenders in the Arab World (SANAD).

About 403 violations against media personnel and outlets were reported in Jordan last year, compared with 638 in Egypt, 635 in Yemen, 310 in Tunisia and 131 in Bahrain,  said the study, conducted in partnership with the Norwegian embassy in Amman.

Preventing journalists from covering events topped the list of violations against the media, standing at 15.5 per cent. Among Arab states, Jordan came in sixth place with 42 cases, with Egypt ranking first with 160 cases, followed by Iraq (101) and Tunisia (100). 

Physical assaults against journalist came second (13.8 per cent), followed by blocking news websites (10.2 per cent).

Verbal abuse, preventing freedom of expression, arbitrary arrests, pressure and harassments, threats and losses to properties followed respectively, according to the study, released during the third Forum for Media Freedom Defenders in the Arab World last week.

A total of 3,860 violations against media personnel and outlets were reported in 2013 across the region, according to the results.

No cases of physical assaults against media personnel were reported in Jordan last year, according to the study.

The Kingdom ranked first among Arab states in terms of blocking news websites, with 291 such cases. Bahrain came second with 70 cases and Saudi Arabia third with 21 cases, the study showed.

Jordan ranked fifth in terms of blocking journalists’ access to information with five cases, while Tunisia came first with 17 cases.

Meanwhile, Jordan ranked eighth with regard to verbal abuse against media personnel with eight cases, while Egypt came first with 71 cases, according to the study, which also ranked the Kingdom in fifth place in threats against media personnel and outlets (14 cases in 2013). 

Yemen came first with 44 cases.

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