The Hague, Netherlands (PRWEB) December 10, 2011
Coinciding with its participation at the Online Freedom conference taking place from 8-9 December 2011 in the Netherlands, the Arab ICT Organization (IJMA3) today issued a statement of support for Ms. Razan Ghazzawi a Syrian blogger and outspoken critic of the Syrian government, who was recently arrested at the Syrian border while traveling to an international conference. The news of arrest was confirmed by her employer, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. IJMA3 strongly condemns these actions taken by the Syrian government against Ms. Ghazzawi and all those who use the Internet as a non-violent means of expression. The detention of Ms. Ghazzawi, who blogged under her real name, has given cause for concern among her many colleagues and friends around the world, who fear for her safety. The Government of Syria’s ongoing arrests of online activists directly contradicts the principles of the Arab Internet Manifesto (AIM), a pioneering document signed by numerous Arab ministers, including the Syrian Minister of Telecommunications, during the MENA ICT Week conference held in Damascus in March 2011.
The AIM, which outlines a regional vision governing Internet use, promotes the development of effective policies and legislation for protecting individuals and communities. These policies should take into account the local context, but must be in line with universal human rights. The arrest and detention of online activists like Razan Ghazzawi violates the principle of respect for data openness previously endorsed by the Syrian government under the AIM. IJMA3 urges the Syrian government to adhere to its commitment towards Internet openness and respect of international standards governing Internet freedom and the freedom of expression.
IJMA3 is an international non-governmental non-profit organization headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon and with offices in Baghdad and Washington DC, USA consisting of a consortium of more than 16 national ICT association members from countries across the MENA region. As the regional voice of the ICT industry, IJMA3 is dedicated to advocating policies that advance the industry's growth and development; facilitating international trade and investment in ICT products and services; and harnessing ICT toward the fulfillment of critical regional development challenges. IJMA3 is a member of, and regional representative for the MENA and Central Asia regions for the World IT and Services Alliance (WITSA), an international body representing the interests of the ICT industry globally, for which IJMA3’s Secretary-General serves as a Vice Chairman of WITSA.