Head Chair: Teyo Jacobson Vice Chair: Luna Witchey Moderator: Trent Nguyen
Position papers will be due on February 2, 2019. The position paper format and all other important conference documents can be found on our conference website, http://lhhsconference.weebly.com/. Email all position papers to our committee email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to contact us via email if you have any questions or concerns! Hi, my name is Teyo Jacobson; I’m your head chair for the Arab League. I have been involved in MUN and Drama for three years. Also, I have been involved in choir, notably Voices of Hope children's choir, and their run on America's Got Talent. I am also involved in Boy Scouts and the acting president of the Disney Club. One of my favorite things to do is travel and explore new places. I have traveled to locations including Jerusalem Israel, Naxos Greece, and Tokyo Japan. I’m excited for the opportunity to be able to chair for the 2018 conference! Hello! I’m Luna Witchey, a sophomore, and I will be your Vice Chair for this Arab League Committee. I am a 3rd-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, have done it for 10 years, and work teaching there. I also really enjoy drawing and painting. My paintings have been showcased at the Potaki Center, have gotten into the Festival of Arts multiple times, and have won first place in the Imaginology Youth Expo. I am half Japanese and love Asian culture. I go to Japan often and love the modern city areas of Tokyo to the unique fashion in Harajuku to the ancient history in places like Kyoto. I am passionate about many things including musicals, my dogs, my snakes, books, honors classes, kpop, and food! This is my second year of MUN and I look forward to meeting everyone at the conference! Hi, my name is Trent Nguyen. I will be your moderator for this year’s Arab League Committee. I am a Sophomore and this year will be my second year of Mun. I am in Cross Country and play Tennis in the spring. My hobbies include eating a lot of food, sleeping, and binge-watchingTV shows. Also, I love going on family trips with my family and traveling to different places. I am excited to be your moderator and look forward to a great conference.
Topic: Journalist/ Media Rights and Freedom of Expression in the Arab League Background: The Arab league was formed on March 22, 1945, with the intention to strengthen connections with its members and promote their common interests. Throughout the years, more members joined and strengthened the league. However, when the Arab spring occurred in 2010 which were the several protests in many Arab league members for more democratic reform, this had an inverse effect. Although some governments were reform, most reacted in a way that decreased freedom of speech. The response from some Arabic governments was the increasing attacks on freedom of expression through physical suppression to jailing activists and political opponents using the reason of counterterrorism. Also, media rights have been ignored as some Arab league members have continued to jail, tortured, and sometimes execute journalists that try speak out against their government. In additions, newspapers and other forms of independent news sources are being shut down and censored that are not supportive of the government. These countries attempt to conceal their actions by blocking investigative journalists and NGOs from entering their country. Furthermore, sometimes they only promote news sources that support the government rule. However, despite the attempts of suppressing freedom of speech and journalists, some citizens continue to spread the news through social media. In the time of media and freedom of speech suppression, social media has played a critical role in bringing attention to the several human rights violations in the members of the Arab league as well as connecting other protesters easily and providing news sources not controlled by the government. Overall, media rights and freedom of expression are currently being neglected by some members of the Arab League and will need to be resolved as it poses a significant problem both to citizens and governments.
UN Involvement: There are no resolutions created by the UN on journalist/media rights. This is because censorship of media is often controlled by a state’s government and the severity of the censorship varies with the culture and beliefs of the state. Also, a large amount of media and journalism is now published on the internet which has only recently been happening. Some organizations have addressed this topic such as The Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), The International Press Institute (IPI), The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The ARIJ’s goal is to improve investigative journalism in the middle east by making it based on facts and good research which would make sure that accurate information is spread to the public and to diversify views on various topics, as well as create more transparency and accountability. They plan to do this by providing resources, training, and community support for the journalists. The IPI’s mission is to defend free media and to support quality, independent media. They do this by working directly with governments, raising awareness on media freedom violations, and leading programmes that support change. They have also created a manuel on the Freedom of Expression, Media Law, and Defamation, and they have a database with the media laws of many countries. The OIC has worked with the UNHCR during the Durban Review Conference. This resulted in the Draft Outcome Document for the Durban Review Conference 2009 which suggests that national and international laws be reviewed and amended so that the defamation of Islam is made a criminal offense. Those who are Islamophobic anywhere including in journalism or media would be punished. This is in order to reduce racism and xenophobia. Bloc Positions: Middle Eastern Bloc: In the Middle Eastern bloc every country may have their own policies and feelings towards the media. Some countries block or censor certain parts of the media for what they consider their own good. Other countries in the Arab League are trying to be more progressive and give more rights and freedom to the press and media. The most important thing to consider is what is your countries stance on freedom of the press and the media and why? Furthermore many countries in the Arab league have silenced more than journalists but citizens of their own countries. Some countries have shut down online speech as well as in person. In many cases people have been arrested for speaking out against their government. Countries in the Arab League have sometimes even gone as far as arresting those that that speak out and condemn it as terrorism.
Questions to consider: 1. To what extent should a country be able to control the media/press? 2. Is censoring the media and press a violation of human rights? 3. Should the Arab League allow countries to silence civilians? 4. What is the line between free speech and terrorism? 5. What should the role of journalists and the media be within the Arab league?