CAIRO: The Journalists Syndicate rejected “new restrictions” imposed on press freedoms by a draft anti-terrorism law awaiting ratification form President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, according to a Sunday statement.
The syndicate called on the government to reconsider article 33 of the draft law, as it stipulates a minimum of a two-year sentence for those who report false news or information about any “terrorist attacks” that contradict official data.
“Article 33 restricts a journalist’s right to collect information from different sources, limiting him to one source; a setback for freedom of opinion, publication and expression,” said the statement.
The said article makes the executive authority a censor on the press and its freedom and a criterion for the truth, restraining all the rights guaranteed by the law for journalists.
The syndicate added that it supports the state in its “war against terror,” emphasizing that it would not succeed through “the confiscation of rights,” rather by considering the society as a main partner in countering radicalism and violence.
The Supreme judiciary Council announced in a statement Sunday it approved anti-terrorism after “special procedural amendments.”
The anti-terrorism draft law was approved by the cabinet Wednesday; the same day militants launched simultaneous attacks on several North Sinai checkpoints.
The cabinet said in a statement that the anti-terrorism legislation would provide “rapid and just deterrence” against terrorism.
The amendments in the new law include “acceleration in court procedures of terrorism-related crimes through shrinking the litigation period, enhancing the jurisdiction of police officers and prosecutors involved in terror crimes along with facilitating access to bank accounts of suspects,” Ibrahim el-Heneidy, Transitional Justice Minister and head of the committee tasked with making the legal amendments told Youm7.
Attacks targeting security personnel and public utilities have been frequent since the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Such attacks have killed hundreds and inflicted huge losses on the government.