Journalists fighting for press freedoms

Egyptian media strangled

GMT 08:59 2012 Tuesday ,23 October

Arab Today, arab today Egyptian media strangled

Journalists attack Muslim Brotherhood’s
Cairo – Islam al Khodary

Journalists attack Muslim Brotherhood’s Cairo – Islam al Khodary Egyptian journalists insisted on maintaining the freedom they regained after the successful January revolution, but remain in conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood. The journalists insist on press freedom and independence refusing what they called the plot of “brotherhooding the press”, while the Brotherhood is attempting to dominate and control it through its ruling Freedom and Justice Party.
Egyptian journalists have denounced inheriting the national press or being taken over by editors in chief who are taking the same path as their predecessors to prevent the newspapers from representing the public opinion and instead become a publicity megaphone.
They stressed the importance of not dominating the media, addressing all the national and political forces, as well as all the human rights and freedoms organisations, even if the President and his officials are the ones responsible for strangling the freedom of press and media.
Gamal Fahmy, a member of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, said threats to the freedom of press and media has become a criminal practice against journalism, freedom of speech and the freedom of the Egyptian people, especially after a series of consecutive and sometime unprecedented events such as confiscating newspapers. He stressed that the law doesn’t permit anyone to confiscate a newspaper.
Fahmy warned about a plan to turn this, or even stricter measures, into constitutional articles in the new constitution. he added it had become very hard to get through the constituent assembly especially after the cancellation of the Former head of the Journalist Syndicate Galal Aref said Journalists should defend freedom of speech and creativity and that every one should be aware that it is a fight where all the people should participate, as the  journalists’ fight for freedom is for the sake of people.
He said history proves that journalists never lost a fight for freedom, when it's done for the people.
Over the past few days, the press has witnessed several events restricting freedoms, including confiscating “al-Osboua” newspaper.
Editor in chief of the newspaper, Mostafa Bakry, was surprised by Dar al-Tahrir printing an edition of the newspaper, after being requested to change the title of the interview with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, detailing he was to be to be summoned for illegal gain, which was denied by Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekki four days before.
Bakry said that he interviewed Tantawi on Friday, which made him want to speed up the printing of the issue but was surprised when he was asked to change the titles of the page and editing the content by al-Gomhurriya staff before printing.
He added that when he refused, the paper was banned from being published.
He said that there is a Brotherhood policy to restrict the freedom of media, giving the example of what happened with al-Dostour newspaper, adding that he didn't take a decision to respond to the “irresponsible action.”
Confiscating al-Dostour newspaper wasn’t the sole case, as the head of al-Shura council decided to arrest al-Gomhurriya newspaper’s chief editor Gamal Abdel Rahim, who was sacked for publishing false news about Field Marshal Tantawi and General Sami Anan being interrogated and banned from travelling.
Abdel Rahim criticised the “unprecedented decision” and said even in case of publishing false news, there are several legal procedures to apply topped by publishing a correction or denial on the first page according to press law, which has already happened.
He said that since the decision was taken, he goes to his office every day, adding that the journalist al-Ayed al-Babely is acting editor-in-chief which means that he is only responsible for editorial work.
He added that he practised his duties the day following the decision, helped by his colleagues in the editorial board, who issued a statement refusing his suspension by an individual decision of Ahmed Fahmy, head of al-Shura council.
Abdel Rahim said he took all the legal procedures to respond to his suspension, as well as a peaceful sit-in with the participation of al-Gomhurriya journalists who supported him in his action.

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