Reporters Sans Frontieres published, for the first time, a list of press freedom’s 20 worst digital predators in 2020. Whether state offshoots, private-sector companies, or informal entities, they reflect a reality of power at the end of the 21st century’s second decade, in which investigative reporters and other journalists who cause displeasure risk being the targets of predatory activity by often hidden actors.
In the seven years since the Arab Spring, hope has given way to deep disappointment. Arab officials are increasingly operating with impunity, and by failing to question, investigate and then reveal, journalists are indirectly complicit. Rana Sabbagh, executive director of the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism calls on journalists in the Arab world not to remain silent bystanders in the face of wrongdoing.
For there to be real justice in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, the penalty the Saudis pay must transcend time, place and person, and positively advance the cause of journalism and rights of free speech for generations to come, not just achieve criminal convictions, visa restrictions and economic sanctions. Citizen activist Chuck Fall proposes how that might look.
These tips were provided by a researcher on domestic workers in Saudi Arabia. Media Environment
The media environment in Saudi Arabia is repressive and freedom of speech and expression is limited. The country has repeatedly been under heavy criticism from Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, among others. In Saudi Basic Law, there is no mention of freedom of the press, speech or expression. While the media and publications law guarantees freedom of expression, it works within the limits of Sharia law. The country does not have a freedom of information law, although a draft law has been debated in the Shura Council.
Bloggers are required to register with the Ministry of Information, and criticizing the ruling family is forbidden, as is criticizing Islam.
Data on human trafficking, forced labor and irreegular migration is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Incidents are reported regularly, but this information tends to be scattered across media outlets, government reports and the publications of civil society organizations. For journalists willing to put in the hours, rich data can be mined from archived local media reports, which are available online. Both media in origin and destination countries regularly report on the numbers of undocumented workers deported from a country, or incidents involving trafficked workers.
Below we profile 10 stories of trafficking and forced labor common throughout the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, which includes the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Domestic Workers: Trafficking and Unscrupulous Recruitment
Indian Women Duped by Recruiters. Indian women are regularly trafficked through the United Arab Emirates and forced to work as domestic workers in other countries in the GCC, where they are not registered with their embassies and can be subject to appalling working conditions. Here’s a similar story. Domestic Workers For Sale in Oman. Domestic workers are being traded illegally by expatriate agents in an Omani town for less than $4,000.
Over 11 million migrant workers work in the six Middle Eastern countries — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Journalists attempting to investigate human trafficking and forced labor in the region have faced many challenges. GIJN, in collaboration with human rights organizations, is launching this first bilingual guide to teach journalists best practices, tools and steps in reporting on human trafficking and forced labor in the Gulf region.