Journalists Syndicate urges newspapers to blackout Sunday front pages  
Head of Journalists’ Syndicate Yahia al-Qalash

CAIRO: Journalists Syndicate has called on newspapers to black out their front pages on Sunday, in application of decisions issued during a last week assembly to protest police attack on headquarters and journalists.

In a Friday statement, the Syndicate has also urged newspapers to put the assembly decisions into force by publishing calls to dismiss the Interior Minister either in headlines, logos or editorials.
Many newspapers have responded to the syndicate’s decisions by running the photo of the Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar in a “negative mode,” as well as placing logos that read “Journalism is not a crime,” “No to media gag…no to chaining journalism.”

On Wednesday, thousands of journalists have attended an emergency assembly to “defend press freedom” after what they described as “unprecedented” aggression on the syndicate’s premises when police forces launched a raid and arrested two journalists.

Beside the removal of Abdel Ghaffar from his office, the syndicate called for a presidential apology for the attack.

Both the president and the minister have not responded to the demands; they appeared Thursday during the inauguration of the wheat harvest of the first phase of a major reclamation project.
Youm7 reported Friday that the Interior Ministry has stopped sending press statements to journalists, and will instead post them on its social media accounts.

The arrest of the two journalists last week came as part of a police raids on houses and cafés that scored hundreds of detentions before and during April 25 protests that decried a deal to transfer the sovereignty of two Red Sea Islands to Saudi Arabia.

The journalists, Amr Badr and Mahmoud el-Sakka, are facing charges including: spreading false news, and attempting to overthrow the regime and the constitution.

Amid the crisis, a group called “Front of Path Correction” was launched against the syndicate’s demands, calling for confidence withdrawal of the syndicate’s board council. However, many journalists have announced on their social media accounts that they will refrain from covering the group’s events and news.

The advocate group Journalists Against Torture Observatory (JATO) reported a total of 720 violations committed against Journalists during 2015, with the Interior Ministry being responsible for 276 of the reported cases.
The violations included censorship, assault, damaging equipment and imprisonment.

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