Egypt ranks 2nd worst in world for jailing of journos
Mahmoud Abou Zaid, courtesy of the Freedom for Shawkan Facebook page

CAIRO: Egypt has become the second worst jailer of journalists worldwide, second only to China; 23 are now in jail, compared to 12 being held in 2014, according to report released Tuesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The climate of press in Egypt was described by the bulletin as “rapidly deteriorating” than in any other country.

Mahmoud Abu Zeid, a jailed freelance photojournalist, also known as “Shawkan” is among those listed in the report. His first trial hearing began Saturday, after having spent more than 850 days in remand; Shawkan was not officially charged during most of the period he stayed in prison.

Ismail Alexandrani, a journalist specialized in Sinai-related issues, was recently arrested over charges of promoting the banned Muslim Brotherhood group in his coverage. He has been critical of the military work in Sinai to fight extremists.

The list also includes Alaa Abdel Fatah, the famous political activist and blogger, who is currently serving a sentence of five years in prison over violating 2013 Protest law and assaulting an officer.

The protest law, which entered into force in November 2013, criminalizes any demonstration that does not first obtain approval from security forces.

According to the report, many jailed journalists are facing terror-related charges, affiliations with the Brotherhood and publishing false news.

Egypt has landed on the list of the 10 worst jailers since 2013, after it recorded none in 2012, according to CPJ.

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