New Violations against Freedom of Media

Support for Information Technology center (SITC) is expressing its deep concern from the increase in the rate of violations against freedom of media and the continuous sedition against media workers as well as the increasing pressure on media institutions which coincide with the approach of the first anniversary of electing President Mohamed Morsi, and the accompanying calls for protests.

It was stated in the President’s speech which was delivered on 26.6.2013 on the first anniversary of his rule, clear expressions of incitement on the media and accusations to the media of deliberately distorting government policies with the explicit sedition against specific owners of satellite channels.

A kidnapping had occurred against the journalist Mohammed Heiza Bazeid according to a statement issued by “Awlad el baled” media institution for which he worked as correspondent. It stated that he had disappeared during his coverage of events and bloody clashes in Mansoura, which took place between supporters and opponents of President Morsi, a few hours before the president’s speech. In addition, the institution has filed an administrative complaint carrying the No. 7766 for the kidnapping of the journalist.

The president’s speech was followed by the decision of the Attorney General to re-open investigations into the complaints submitted against a number of journalists including Lamiss El Hadidy, Amr Adib, Khairy Ramadan, Wael El Ibrashi, Yousef El-Husseini, Mona Shazly,  Emad Eddin Adib, Adel Hamouda, Ibrahim Issa, Khaled Salah and Mahmoud Saad, on charges of insulting the president.

In addition, the Attorney General had issued a set against Tawfiq Okasha, the owner of El Fara’ein channel, to investigate the complaint submitted against him, accusing him of publishing false news, related to the attack on the institutions of government and the President. This is besides the attacks that have occurred against journalists, reporters, photographers and TV coverage teams, while covering the “Renounce Violence” demonstration organized by the supporters of President Mohamed Morsi on Friday, 21/06/2013, with the aim of preventing them from exercising their work..

Moreover, media workers in the “Maspero” have issued repeated complaints against interventions of the Minister of media in the editorial policy of the news, and programs. Some of them have been referred to an administrative investigation as well as cessation from work. The anchor, Mr Gamal El Sha’ar , has stated on Thursday, 27.6.2013 on air, that the Egyptian TV program had stopped the broadcast of his program “Kalm Masr”, on the “Egyptian satellite” channel because of what was mentioned in the episode of the criticism of the political situation.

The attack on the media workers and continuous speech incitement against them by the officials of the executive branch, headed by President, represent a serious indicator of violations against the freedom and independence of the media in Egypt, which have increased since the rule of President Mohamed Morsi a year ago.

The signatories to this statement are calling the authorities to take all necessary measures to provide protection for the media workers during the June 30th demonstrations, in a way that enables them to perform their duties. It also calls on media institutions to provide protection and occupational safety for media workers and provide legal protection as well.

 

Cairo, 28th of June

Support for Information Technology Center