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AMEJA Statement Regarding Sentencing of Al Jazeera Staff

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STATEMENT OF AMEJA REGARDING EGYPTIAN COURT SENTENCING OF AL JAZEERA STAFF

June 24, 2014—Since being established nearly a decade ago, the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) has weighed the efficacy of commenting on the outrages our colleagues have faced around the globe.  In many cases, the board has been asked by the families of affected journalists to withhold comment, lest extra publicity worsen the situation of our colleagues.  At other times, AMEJA has been advised that commenting on the misdeeds against journalists will possibly put yet unaffected AMEJA members at risk.   As a rule, AMEJA has no desire to be part of any story, and certainly, as an organization dedicated to helping members prosper in their careers, we surely do not want to create a situation where association with AMEJA could be used as an excuse to harm them.

There are situations however, in which the assault on journalists is so outrageous, that AMEJA cannot withhold comment.  The latest Egyptian court decision, condemning Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed to sentences of 7-10 years for spurious charges of “spreading false news” in support of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, is one such case.   The case against these journalists, as well as over a dozen other journalists tried in absentia lacked the most basic notions of prudence and fairness.  Prosecution evidence was contradictory, fabricated, or even non-existent.  Defense arguments were either ignored or simply disallowed.    In short, this case represents a travesty of justice from the start.

AMEJA condemns this court decision fully and absolutely and calls for all with influence to work toward its complete reversal.    AMEJA is also deeply concerned about the precedent this case might set, threatening the security of any journalist trying rigorously to do his or her job of informing the public.  People of good conscience, journalists, civil right organizations, governments that believe in the rule of law, should assure that this outrage does not continue.

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Vivian Salama, AMEJA member appointed new AP Baghdad Bureau Chief

Congrats to AMEJA member Vivian Salama (@vmsalama)!!

Today Appointed as the newest @AP Baghdad bureau chief:
http://apne.ws/1lkdRgn 

 
“CAIRO (AP) — Vivian Salama, a television and print journalist who has reported on the Middle East for over a decade, has been named as Baghdad bureau chief for The Associated Press.

The appointment was announced on Monday by Ian Phillips, AP’s Middle East news director based in Cairo.

Salama, 34, succeeds Adam Schreck, who is now based in Dubai and oversees AP coverage of the Gulf Arab countries as well as Iran. Salama will be the senior reporter and will lead a team of reporters, photographers, video journalists and support staff covering Iraq.”

 

AMEJA ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD ELECTIONS

Dear AMEJA members,

AMEJA has accomplished a lot since it was formed 7 years ago. True to its mission, the organization has brought together largely Middle Eastern and North African heritage journalists in all fields of media, providing a forum for mutual support and professional development.   Our listserve has enabled members to learn about jobs, to make contacts, to find stringers, offer advice for working in conflict zones, and even share stories.  We have provided a daily digest of the Middle Eastern press through the service MidEast Wire.  Externally, the organization has hosted lectures and debates on a number of subjects with special attention to the Middle East.  Our Blog Talk Radio shows have made our conversations available to the whole world, and we have worked toward a student mentorship program.

Past accomplishments are one thing, but in order to prosper in the future we need new faces.

We’re preparing for elections, and have open positions on the Board.

If you’re interested in applying, see our descriptions below. Email us at board@ameja.org with your interest along with a brief bio and statement of candidacy by August 25.

The AMEJA Board is a collective body where decisions are made by consensus or majority vote. Various officers have particular responsibilities, though responsibility is shared by all board members when it comes to practical matters involving AMEJA or its mission.

  • No one board member may act in the name of or speak on behalf of the organization without reasonable consultation and consensus from other board members.
  • Each board member is obliged to devote a minimum of three hours per month – not including board meetings or AMEJA functions – to AMEJA business. This business might include AMEJA outreach, recruitment of new members, posting to the AMEJA website, communication with members, social media activities, fundraising (either through solicitation of individual contributions or applying for grants), etc.
  • The Board is also responsible for the organization’s fiscal well-being and board members are obliged to contribute between $50 and $100 per annum.

Of course, greater amounts are appreciated, as are matching contributions from employers.

The AMEJA Board has between seven and thirteen members, up to nine of which have executive positions.

These are defined as follows:

President

The President is responsible for directing Board activity, from calling meetings to setting the agenda in consultation with other Board members. The AMEJA President is the organization’s public face and its spokesperson for matters that involve the organization and its mission.

Vice President 

The Vice President supports the president as necessary and shares its executive duties.  The Vice President will succeed the President if the latter is unable fulfill his or her duties of office.  The Vice President might be assigned more specific duties if designated by the Board.

Secretary

The Secretary is responsible for recording and keeping a book of the minutes of all meetings and actions of the Board, committees, etc., and be prepared to share a record of these meetings to the board or others as required by law.  Within one week after each Board meeting, the secretary will send via email, a record of its proceedings.  Moreover, the secretary is to maintain a tally of AMEJA members, including membership category, contact information (email address and phone, if possible), job-title, websites, etc.

Treasurer

The Treasurer is responsible for maintaining a record of accounts, properties, business transactions, disbursements of funds, etc. of AMEJA.  The Treasurer is responsible for depositing AMEJA income into the organization’s accounts, for seeing that accounts are balanced, and for maintaining communications with the Bank that holds these accounts.  The Treasurer is also responsible for paying AMEJA liabilities through these accounts and must notify the Board of potential deficits. The Treasurer is responsible for filing tax statements with relevant authorities as required by law, including annual filings with the IRS.

Webmaster

The Webmaster is charged with maintaining the AMEJA website (www.ameja.org) on a regular basis, assuring that it remains relevant and dynamic for AMEJA members as well as maintaining an attractive public face for the organization. The Webmaster is also in charge of social media, and is authorized to encourage AMEJA members to post to AMEJA sites and accounts. This position can be held by an existing officer AMEJA Website (www.ameja.org).  The Webmaster is also responsible for communications with www.ameja.org’s service provider as well as any designers that AMEJA might employ.

Student Liaison

The Student Liaison is responsible for maintaining communication with AMEJA affiliates at various universities, for example, the AMEJA Club at Columbia University’s School of Journalism, coordinating activities with them, and assuring that student-affiliates stay true to AMEJA’s mission. Since students graduate, it is important that the Student Liaison invite qualified former student members to apply for full AMEJA membership

Marketing Consultant/Development Officer

AMEJA’s Marketing Consultant/Development Officer is charged with publicizing AMEJA activities, promoting its presence in the world of professional organizations, media or ethnic-based, and for seeking opportunities expand AMEJA activities. A vital aspect of this position is fundraising and income generating activities.

Deputy Officers

Each officer potentially has a “Deputy,” who is entrusted with supporting the officer’s activities.  Deputies can hold other Board positions.

At Large

There are also a few At Large board positions, the number of which is determined by the Board’s 13 member cap.

At Large Board members are responsible for helping AMEJA officers fulfill their duties, as well as promoting and supporting AMEJA in the fulfillment of its mission.

Thank you,

AMEJA Board

AMEJA Mourns Death of Helen Thomas

The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) is saddened by the recent passing of Helen Thomas. Ms. Thomas was not only one of the most important journalists of her generation, but was among the most esteemed journalists of Arab-heritage of all time. Her critical approach to her craft, her fearlessness in posing tough, vital questions to those in power and her dogged persistence in demanding answers from those who tried to brush them aside made Helen Thomas a model to which all journalists could aspire. The treatment she received at the end of her career for critical statements about Israel was a blight on the US journalist establishment, but only reinforced the need for independent voices such as Ms. Thomas’s.

We extend our condolences to all those close to Ms. Thomas. It is AMEJA’s mission to support the best it can, the work of other journalists dedicated to the same critical approach as Helen Thomas. She will be missed.

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AMEJA Condemns Newseum Exclusion of Slain Palestinian Journalists

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Statement of the Arab and Middle East Journalists Association in Reference to Newseum Scandal

The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) condemns in the strongest possible terms, the decision of the Newseum to exclude Palestinian journalists Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama from its memorial of journalists killed in the line of duty.

Israeli missiles fired at a car clearly marked “TV” during Israel’s attack on Gaza in November, 2012, killing Messieurs Al-Kumi and Salama as they returned from covering a story for TV station Al-Aqsa at Al-Shifaa Hospital.    The Newseum justifies its exclusion of the two journalists because of claims that they worked for news network run by Hamas, the governing party in Gaza.    The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers all recognize that both Mr. Al-Kumi and Mr. Salama were legitimate journalists, and therefore entitled to all protections afforded non-combatants in times of armed conflict.    Human Rights Watch, which investigated the affiliations of the two men, has determined that neither was a member of any political party, nor was either a combatant.

AMEJA wholeheartedly supports the statements of peer groups The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, and is appreciative of the investigations of Human Rights Watch.  However, AMEJA firmly holds that a journalist’s political affiliations, whatever they might be, are irrelevant to the question of whether he or she is a journalist.   Applying a political litmus test to determine whether one is a journalist is a slippery slope that serves no useful purpose in the service of an informed public.

If the Newseum truly wishes to honor the principle of press freedom, it must reverse its decision of exclusion and restore Messrs. al-Kumi and Salama from its memorial of journalists who perished while working to inform the public of vital matters of the day.

EVENT: Egypt: A Revolution Continues

Egypt- A Revolution ContinuesAMEJA is Proud to Co-Sponsor this Event:

Come hear from two of Egypt’s finest independent reporters who have covered the Egyptian revolution from the beginning.

Lina Attalah is the Chief Editor of Egypt Independent, a Cairo-based weekly print and online newspaper.

Sharif Abdel Kouddous is a correspondent for Democracy Now! and a fellow at the Nation Institute. He is based in Cairo.

The event will be moderated by Amy Goodman, host of the award-winning independent television and radio program, Democracy Now!

Friday April 12, 2013
NYU Cantor Film Center (36 E 8th St.), Theater 101
6:00PM

The struggle in Egypt that began in 2011 and inspired people around the world is at a critical juncture. Amidst a deadlock between the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition, the persistence of police brutality and state institutions of the old regime, and a looming economic crisis, the divide between political elites and people is growing ever wider. How much has changed since the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011? What are the prospects for political change in the future?


Egypt Independent was founded in 2009 as the English-language edition of the leading Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm. It’s become one of the most widely-read sources of critical reporting and analysis on Egypt. To continue providing quality coverage, Egypt Independent is launching an international subscriptions drive and wants your support.

Come hear about the struggles in Egypt. Subscribe to Egypt Independent!

Co-sponsored by:
The Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies (NYU)
The Nation Institute
Network of Arab-American Professionals of NY
The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA)
Alwan for the Arts
The Brecht Forum
Waging Nonviolence
The Indypendent

Call for Applications: Said-Asfari Journalism Fellowship at the Reuters Institute

Call for applications from Lebanon, Palestine and Syria for the Said-Asfari Fellowships for Journalists at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University for 2013-14. Closing Deadline for applications at noon on 1st May 2013.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has announced the call for applications for the Said-Asfari Fellowship jointly sponsored by the Asfari Foundation and the Said Foundation. This gives a unique opportunity for journalists from Lebanon, Palestine and Syria (candidates should ideally be based in the Levant region or Egypt and intend to work there upon the completion of the Fellowship) to benefit from a funded fellowship at the University of Oxford. All Institute and University/College fees will be paid by the Fellowship, and the fellows will also receive their travel costs and a modest stipend to cover housing and living expenses in Oxford.

For more information on how to apply for a 6 month fellowship commencing October 2013, please go to: https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/about/news/item/article/call-for-applications-for-said-asfa.html

Launch of Syria Deeply by Lara Setrakian

Launch of Syria Deeply by Lara Setrakian

AMEJA congratulates member Lara Setrakian for the launch of her new website SyriaDeeply.org. Billed as a “”a creative media project led by journalists and technologists, building a new model of storytelling around complex global issues. Using all the latest digital tools of the day Syria Deeply fuses professional journalism, user generated content, social media, and news aggregation to create a new user experience online,” SyriaDeeply is proof again that the unique insights AMEJA members have into the Middle East and North Africa make them stand apart in the world of journalism.
Please go here to learn more about the initiative.

New Book from Qatari Author Sophia Al Maria

New Book from Qatari Author Sophia Al Maria

Congratulations to AMEJA member Sophia Al Maria who’s new book The Girl Who Fell to Earth hit the shelves a few days ago.

Mabruk Sophia!

Reviews for The Girl Who Fell to Earth:
“Daring, witty, and brimming with the unexpected, Sophia Al-Maria’s riveting memoir is as much about America as it is [about] the Arab world. Chronicling a coming-of-age between Washington State, Doha, and Cairo, this bracing first book startles and illuminates.”
—Yasmine El Rashidi, author of The Battle for Egypt

“Riveting … From an intimate vantage point, Al-Maria sees and translates challenges that the Bedouin, who lived for ages in the desert navigating by the stars, now face in the era of big cities and washers and dryers. What makes Al-Maria’s story unique is not only its rare insider’s glimpse of modern Bedouin life, but the outsider’s sensibility that magnifies her exquisite observational gifts. Frank, funny and dauntless.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“… wry, eloquent … her commentary gets it exactly right.”
—Booklist

Book Launch Panel/Reception for “Demanding Dignity”

Book Launch Panel/Reception for “Demanding Dignity”
December 6, 2012
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

Edited by AMEJA members Ahmed Shihab-Eldin and Maytha Alhassan; Demanding Dignity: Young Voices from the Front Lines of the Arab Revolutions brings together essays written by today’s generation of Arab youth who have directly inspired and sparked a revolutionary spirit that toppled governments, unearthing the corruption of decades of dictator dominated countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The authors will be in attendance at this event to discuss the book.

LOCATION: WORLD ROOM, JOURNALISM SCHOOL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
DATE: 12/6
TIME: 7-9 PM

In partnership with the Columbia Students Chapter of AMEJA
For details on how you can start your own chapter of AMEJA email join@ameja.org