Five members of the council of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate issued a statement Wednesday denouncing the “raid on press freedom” and the detention of the editor-in-chief of Masr Al-Arabiya, Adel Sabry, over “null accusations.”
In their statement, Gamal Abdelrehim, Mohamed Kharaga, Amr Badr, Mohamed Saad Abdulhafeez, and Mahmoud Kamel pointed out that the actions against the media included imposing sanctions and fines on Al-Masry Al-Youm and Masr Al-Arabiya, as well as blocking hundreds of websites and arresting journalists Hossam El-Sewifi, Ahmed Abdul Aziz, and Moataz Wadnan.
“All of this has happened in the absence of the syndicate despite all our attempts for inciting the council of the syndicate to take action; however, the council insists that everything is fine,” said the five council members in the statement. They added that they have also faced accusations of inciting sedition.
They further added that they called on the syndicate’s council to condemn the detention of Sabry and reject the investigation of the former chief editor of Al-Masry Al-Youm, as well as to enter into a dialogue with the bodies concerned with press freedom legislation and to call for halting the assault on press freedom. “All our suggestions were rejected by the other members of the council,” they said.
The statement called upon the members of the Journalists Syndicate’s general assembly to take action and to attend the upcoming general assembly meeting to evaluate the situation and make their decisions.
Moreover, the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate announced on Tuesday that it is following with concern the issue of Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper and Masr Al-Arabiya website. The council of the syndicate also declared support for Al-Masry Al-Youm and Adel Sabry, the editor-in-chief of Masr Al-Arabiya website.
In a statement following its meeting, the council of the syndicate called upon the Supreme Media Council to activate article 71 of the constitution, which stipulates that journalists should not be detained or pay fines in publishing cases.
Last week, the Dokki prosecution ordered a 15-day detention of Adel Sabry, pending an investigation over allegations of publishing false news and managing an unlicensed news website. The detention of Sabry came two days after the Supreme Media Council imposed fines on Al-Masry Al-Youm and Masr Al-Arabiya on allegations of publishing news against the state during the presidential election.