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IFJ Welcomes Saudi Withdrawal on Decision to Flog Female Journalist

October 27, 2009

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the decision of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz decision to cancel a Saudi Court sentence ordering a female journalist to receive 60 lashes over a controversial sex broadcast. The IFJ says laws in the country should now be reviewed to protect journalists.

A Saudi Arabian court judgment had sentenced journalist Rozanna al-Yami to 60 lashes, a two- year travel ban and ordered her not to work for unlicensed media agencies, after she was involved in preparing a television show in which a Saudi man publicly talked about sex on the Lebanese channel LBC, which is partly owned by a member of the Saudi royal family.

Following the King's decision to cancel the flogging sentence the case, along with another one involving a woman journalist, has been referred to the Ministry of Information.

"The decision of Saudi Arabia King to cancel the flogging punishment is a relief to everyone in journalism," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "This has been a terrible ordeal for the journalist and no further action should be taken against her. She has suffered enough."

This case, says the IFJ, highlights the importance of a regional-wide campaign Breaking the Chains in which IFJ affiliates across the Arab World are calling for the repeal of criminal laws penalising journalists and which highlights the arrest, imposition of disproportionate fines, and violence against media professionals.

"Journalists across the Arab World have been shocked by this case," said White. "They want an end to all forms on intimidation. We urge Saudi Arabia authorities to take concrete actions for a complete overhaul of the law to provide protection for journalists operating in the country."

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: 32 2 235 2207

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