Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

May 27, 2010

World Press Freedom Day

Recently (May 3 – 6, 2010) journalist unions and press organizations celebrated World Press Freedom Day. In the Arab world, conferences were held to demand that their governments lift their censorships and allow the press to freely report events and news to their readers. Governments in different Arab states have imposed, quite frequently, their control over the press under their own definition of protecting the security of their states. For example, Egypt, the leading Arab state, created the “emergency law” nearly 30 years ago under the pretext to fight “terrorism” and drug dealers. However, the law has been used as an umbrella to suppress political oppositions and curtail the freedom of the press. In reality, the law has been used to protect heads of state, minister and high government officials from accountability and transparency. This also takes place due to the absence of democracy. For that and other reasons, corruption is deep rooted at all governmental levels. As a result, on May 3, 2010, the United Arab Journalists Association warned that “The freedom of the Arab press lately has experienced a decline in some Arab states.” More restrictions on freedom of journalists and jail sentences and punishment have been used in violation of guidelines, according to the United Journalist Association. Some Arab governments have failed even in providing the minimal freedom of expression (ahram.org, May 4, 2010). In Democratic, open societies, the press plays a very important role in providing the public with information, especially about the performance of public officials. Accountability and transparency is the foundation of Democratic institutions.

Unfortunately, such institutions are not part of Arab governmental structures. That is why, among other things, corruption is deep rooted and at all levels of governmental institutions.

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