Press Release
"Freedom Heralds"
The forum issues its report on freedom of opinion and _expression in Egypt 2005

"Forum for development and human rights dialogue" issues today, March 6, 2006, its first report on freedom of opinion and _expression, titled "Freedom heralds".

In its introduction, the report attempts a concise overview on the legal framework organizing freedom of the press in Egypt, the introduction approaches as well the current scenery of journalism and its relationship with the present-day political changes, and the way the press dealt with the issue of constitutional reform that took place in the beginnings of 2005.

The introduction comes up to the simultaneousness of the controversy over annulling incarceration penalties in publication crimes, and the proliferation of phenomenally severe criticism in between journalists on the pages of newspapers, that which the report considers a self-imposed restraint that can negatively affect the right to freedom of opinion and _expression.

The report confirmed in its introduction that legislative reform must go hand in hand with the responsibility of the journalistic conscience to avoid exchanging severe criticism, an issue that reached the extent - as the report shows - of journalists taking their cases to courtrooms and prosecutors seeking the incarceration of their colleagues.

The report observes in "Section one" the violations and obstacles that faced journalists as a result of their work, referring in that regard to:
    1- Issuing 25 judicial rulings against journalists in publication suits during 2005

    2- Calling 60 journalists before different prosecutors to question them on accusations of publication crimes.

    3- 10 cases of assault against journalist as a result of their work
"Section two" deals with the Forum's follow-up on the press syndicate elections held on September 25 and 29, recording incidents like:
    1- The occurrence of clashes between columnist Mohammed Abdellah and the proponents of candidate Ibraheem Hegazy, in an attempt to prevent Abdellah from distributing a flyer.

    2- The occurrence of a verbal dispute between former candidate Usama Gheith (proponent of candidate Galal Aref in the run-off round) and journalist Dina Rayan (A supporter of Ibraheem Hegazy), when she asked him to vote for Hegazy, and then he started to attack corruptions and corrupts in Al-Ahram institution (for which Hegazy works).

"Section three" observes the phenomenon of mutual criticism in between journalists on the pages of newspapers using expressions that are often harsh.
The forum warns against the proliferation of this phenomenon as it will represent a dangerous self-imposed restraint on the freedom of opinion and _expression.

In this section the report will offer the results of the "Content analysis" study performed on articles and reports concerning mutual criticism between journalists working for different press institutions. The study ended showing 505 cases of criticism of other journalists and press institutions, with Al- Dostoor in the first place with 180 cases, followed by Al- Araby with 107 cases, "Al- Osboo' " with 95 cases, "Al- Wafd" with 33 cases, "Rosa Al- Yousef" with 38, "Al- Ahali" with 34, "Al Masry Alyoum" with 9 cases, and finally "Al- Akhbar"'; "Al- Ahram" and "Nahdet Masr" with 3 cases for each one.

The report offers several recommendations, some of them are:
    - Implementing the Journalistic Honor Charter in order that it serves as the main instrument for deterring publication violations. - Issuing a uniform legislation for press in Egypt that defines rights and duties. - Adjusting the relationship between journalists and their employers to "Press Law" instead of "Labor law" to face the phenomenon of dismissing journalists.

The forum, upon issuing its report, is hoping that it contributes to supporting the initiatives aiming at enhancing freedoms within society, and in the heart of those freedoms lies the freedom of the press, and the right of journalists to personal security, as they are the "Freedom Heralds"

Fatma Khir wrote:
From: "nisreen ezzdine"
Subject: FW:
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2006 10:43:50 +0000

After numerous rounds of: "We don't even know if Osama is still alive," Osama himself decided to send George Bush a letter in his own handwriting to let him know he was still in the game.

Bush opened the letter and it appeared to contain a coded message:

Bush was baffled, so he e-mailed it to Condi Rice. Condi and her aides had no clue either, so they sent it to the F B I. No one could solve it so it went to the C I A, then to NSA.

With no clue as to its meaning, they eventually asked Britain's MI-6 for help. MI-6 cabled the White House:
"Tell the President he's holding the message upside down."

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