Egypt media rights unchanged

Constitution writers ‘ignored press union’

GMT 12:53 2013 Tuesday ,27 August

Arab Today, arab today Constitution writers ‘ignored press union’

Newspapers on sale outside Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque
Cairo - Akram Ali

Newspapers on sale outside Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque Cairo - Akram Ali Egypt's Syndicate of Journalists spoke out on Monday after it says its proposals for amending the country’s constitution were ignored. In a statement, the union said the committee of 10 experts in charge of amending Egypt’s suspended constitution disregarded all of its recommendations. These included proposals to stop newspapers being banned and for scrapping jail penalties for press cases, the syndicate stated, saying the committee had not made any changes at all to the relevant articles in the constitution. The panel ignored a proposal to protect journalists’ right to obtain information, the statement said. The union also criticised the fact the president’s right to appoint the heads of media councils remained unchanged. The 2012 constitution, suspended by interim President Adly Mansour on July 3, allowed for the closure of media outlets and confiscation of publications, provided a court order was issued. With the first draft of the revised charter now complete, the constitution will be handed to the interim president and considered by a second committee of 50 representatives from different Egyptian institutions. The syndicate urged the committee of 50 to respond to its nine proposals, emphasising its refusal to accept what it described as the old approach, which ignored its demands. The proposals did not aim to achieve special gains for the journalists, simply to defend the right to knowledge, the statement said. Meanwhile, the head of the journalists’ syndicate Diaa Rashwan said the union’s council had discussed the current challenges facing journalists in Egypt, especially during the curfew imposed by authorities on August 14. He added that the group urged authorities to accept the press identification card carried by its members as a legal license to allow journalists to work after curfew hours. Rashwan said that the journalists Tamer Abdel-Raouf and Ahmed Abdel-Gawad who were killed during the forceful dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood sit-in protests in Cairo on August 14, would be offered an “exceptional” pension.

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