IFJ welcomes UAE's directive for not imprisoning journos

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Dubai, Sep 28 (UNI) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has hailed the latest directive by the UAE government that scribes should not be jailed for their work.

In a statement issued yesterday, the IFJ said, 'The directive sets a precedent for the decriminalisation of media law in the region.'' Lauding the move by the Gulf nation, IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said, ''We welcome this decision by the United Arab Emirates to end the criminalisation of Press offences and to support open and independent journalism.'' ''We hope that the UAE will serve as a model in the region and that other countries will follow suit with similar changes in their own laws,'' Mr White said.

The UAE Prime Minister wanted to see a new Press law with amendments that dropped imprisonment as a penalty for Press offences enacted very quickly, he added.

Expressing hope that such a change in press laws was first of its kind in the West Asia, Mr White said, ''This is not just an important day for journalists in the UAE it is an important day for journalists throughout the region.'' United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed ibn Rashed Al-Maktoum decreed on September 25 that journalists in the country should not be jailed over their work after two of them were sentenced to prison for libel.

UNI

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