July 07, 2017
BRUSSELS - In two separate letters sent to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called for respect for press freedom and recalled the fundamental human right to form a union in Qatar.
The letters come as a response to ongoing threats by Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners - including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates Egypt and Yemen - to the Qatari authorities to close down Al Jazeera.
In its letters the IFJ reiterated its concerns over the demand of the Saudi-led coalition to shut down the Al Jazeera Network and the impact such demand would have on freedom of the media. It also condemned the refusal of the Qatari government to allow journalists to exercise their fundamental human right to form a union, calling it “a serious threat to freedom of association”.
"We believe that the situation is now very critical to the point where the centuries-old tested and acknowledged role of journalism as the watchdog of democracy is under threat. Without it humanity will suffer", said Philippe Leruth addressing UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and urging him to take a stand.
"Freedom of association is one of the fundamental human rights and it has been our outstanding demand on your country to allow more than a 1000 journalists who work and live in Qatar to organize themselves in a union", Leruth said in his letter to Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Pointing at Qatar as one of few countries in the world which denies the journalists this fundamental human right, Leruth called on the Emir to "immediately act and direct (his) government to change this unacceptable policy." – IFJ media release
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