CAIRO: Egyptian journalists face “repression” and are targeted with continued abuse that is “catastrophic,” the Online Press Syndicate stated Monday.
The syndicate statement cited journalists who had been subjected to “repression practices,” including photojournalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada who was detained for 487 days without official charges and Ahmed al-Kaoud, the Beheira reporter who has also been arrested without formal charge.
Photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zaid, also known as Shawkan, has been in a pre-trial detention for over 600 days. He, like many other journalists, was accused of links with the banned Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group and attempted murder.
The statement accused security forces of the Ministry of Interior of using violence, and expressed its surprise to the Interior Ministry’s threat of legal action against Al-Masry Al-Youm (AMAY) newspaper. It requested that security institutions “focus on countering terrorism as it is the actual enemy and not the journalists.”
Some 55% of the Egyptians believe that media enjoys an “average” freedom and 32% believe that media is “totally free,” while 13% believe that media is not free at all, according to Baseera, the Egyptian center for public opinion research.
Amnesty International has grouped Egypt among countries whose governments “misuse the courts to prevent journalists from reporting on human rights issues.”
“Any journalist detained solely for their journalistic work must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Amnesty in statement published May 1.