لقراءته بالعربية اضغط هنا
As the world marks on 3rd of May each year the theme “the basic principles of freedom of the press with the aim of assessing freedom of the press around the world and defending the press against attacks against its independence,” the situation in Saudi Arabia deteriorating. Ever since King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took over power, restrictions on press freedom have increased in Saudi Arabia. The leaders have increased violations with the aim of avenging the activities of journalists and making them silent.
The most severe of these violations is the brutal killing of the famous writer and journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul, which received strong international criticism and the country called upon to start investigations on the murder. These calls were led by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions, Agnes Callamard.
The killing of journalist Khashoggi was not the only indication of this deterioration as the Saudi government has continued to arrest and jail journalists and bloggers, the latest of which was the enforced disappearance of the Jordanian journalist Abdul Rahman Farahaneh since February 2019. Despite international criticism against Saudi Arabia and reducing its rank to 172 from 180 countries worldwide by Reporters Without Borders, the number of detained Saudi journalists continues to increase. The European Organization for Human Rights has documented a number of issues and violations against journalists.
Moreover, despite the International criticism for its policies against the press, Saudi Arabia has not amended any laws that legalize violations against press system and prevent their freedom of expression including Copyright Law, Electronic Publish Regulation, Media Houses Law, and the executive Regulation for printing and publishing that gives power to the government to target journalists and those who express their opinion in the traditional and modern media. In addition, Saudi Arabia continues to use the pretext of terrorist crimes and financing system to criminalize peaceful activists and journalists.
On the World Press Freedom Day, the European Organization for Human Rights believes that the deterioration of freedom of the press in Saudi Arabia is a sign not only of the restriction of freedoms, but of the the increase of repression against all citizens. The intimidation may lead to death threats and the disappearance if anyone expresses an opinion that is contrary to the leadership.
The organization believes that the forthcoming report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions, Agnes Callamard, is the first step to uncover the facts. The Organization also hopes that this report will open the door to accountability for violators responsible for the killings or freedom of journalists in Saudi Arabia.