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Publish Date : Tuesday 20 March 2012 - 07:15
Committee for Protecting Journalists calls for the release of three Saudi journalists
Committee for Protecting Journalists calls for the release of three Saudi journalists
Saudi Arabia (Islam Times) - The Committee for Protecting Journalists asked in a statement published on its website on Saturday for the immediate release of three Saudi journalists.
The statement said that the Saudi authorities should immediately release the three directors of the web sites which covered political news in the eastern region of the country and which are subject to severe restrictions.

The statement also revealed that the Saudi authorities have arrested on February 22 Mr. Habib Ali Almatik, a photographer who also supervises the news website 'Fajr cultural network ', from his headquarters in the city of Jubail, according to news reports.

And the statement went on to about the authorities that have arrested another photographer, Hussein Malek Al-Salem, who also runs the site. This was while he was at the university where he studies in Jubail, according to the statement.

The committee said that the authorities are holding the journalists in a prison in the city of Dammam, the capital of the eastern region, without directed to them any charges, according to news reports.

And the Committee noted in its statement that Fajr cultural network is covering the demonstrations for reform in the eastern region, which is mostly populated by Shiites. The region has been constantly suffering from discrimination and oppression at the hands of the ruling regime, according to what the local journalists told CPJ.

The statement continued that the site has published exhortations of Shiite Sheikhs who support the protests, and the authorities suspended the site after the arrest of journalists.
The statement pointed out that the authorities have arrested on February 25 the journalist Jalal Mohammed Al-Jamal, who runs the website 'Awamiya network', and took him to an unknown location, according to local journalists for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The committee quoted a local journalist that the authorities charged the journalist Jamal with incitement against the State and intents to bring down the system, but the authorities did not officially announce the charges so far.

The CPJ said that the site 'Awamiya network' has played a vital role in the coverage of the demonstrations for reform in the eastern region, and is known for its critics against the system. The authorities have disabled the site following the arrest of Al-Jamal.
Mohamed Abdel Dayem, coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa of the Committee to Protect Journalists said: "These three men are being held because they dared to gather and disseminate information that the government prefers to remain hidden”.

He added that the authorities must release them immediately and return service to the sites that they ran.

The UK authorities have worked to impede the news coverage of protests in the eastern region, which calls for political reforms and greater rights for the country's Shiite minority, as the research of the CPJ shows.
Authorities did not allow for any local or foreign journalist to enter the area.

In the absence of independent press coverage, websites such as ‘Fajr cultural network’ and 'Awamiya' have been covering the events.
Story Code: 146994