Egypt regime 'at war' with the press: media union

2016-05-03 21:57


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Egypt's journalists' union on Tuesday denounced what it called a decline in press freedoms and accused the regime of being "at war" with the profession after two reporters were arrested.

Human rights activists accuse President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of running an ultra-authoritarian regime that has violently suppressed all opposition since toppling Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

On Sunday, police sparked media and opposition outrage by storming the journalists' union building in an unprecedented raid and arresting two reporters.

A day later, the authorities ordered the detention for 15 days of Amr Badr and Mahmud el-Sakka on allegations of incitement to protest.

The prosecutor said the pair would be held as part of an investigation which also includes allegations they had called for a "coup".

Badr heads the website Babawet Yanayer which is opposed to Sisi.

Sakka works for the same organisation whose Arabic name means January Gate in a nod to the January 2011 uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to stand down.

Behind bars

"This year we mark World Press Freedom Day with Egypt down in all the international rankings," union chief Yahiya Kallash told a press conference ahead of a union general meeting due on Wednesday.

"Instead of seeing the government take concrete measures to overcome this situation, we are surprised to see it escalating the war against journalism and journalists," he said.

Kallash denounced "unprecedented searches of the offices of information providers" and the "practice of censorship before publication".

He said "29 journalists are currently behind bars, some of whom have been in custody for nearly three years".

The union chief addressed an often rowdy press conference of some 200 journalists during which he was interrupted by chants against the police who controlled access to the building.

"Interior ministry thugs!" they chanted.

Abuses by the police were a catalyst for the 2011 popular uprising, but such practices have again become commonplace.

On Tuesday, social network users reacted with contempt to an email mistakenly sent out to the press by the police, containing an internal circular on "media management" of the crisis.

"We cannot turn back, as that would mean a mistake has been made," it said, and called for "the use of security experts and retired police generals to expound the ministry's view" in the media.

"We must work to obtain the support of public opinion... in conveying the idea that the union wants to be above the law, that its members do not want to be accountable."

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa  |  media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.