Press release
Cairo: 4/4/2007
FDHRD issued its annual report entitled "Messengers of freedom"
The freedom of journalism in Egypt in 2006

Today on 4th April 2007, Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD) issued its second report entitled "Messenger of freedom" on the freedom of journalism in Egypt during 2006. This report highlights in its introduction a summary of the legal and legislative framework organizing the freedom of journalism in Egypt. Also, it monitors the situation of journalism in Egypt and the relationship between journalism and the political reform in Egypt and the response of journalism to the case of constitutional reform that has started in 2006. Besides, the introduction approaches the legislative amendments that have been inserted recently into the penal code in relation to the cases of publications. In this context, FDHRD comments on such amendments.

This report is divided into four main sections on the situation of the freedom of journalism in Egypt as follows:
  • The first section is entitled "Journalists at courts" . This section tackles:
    - The referral of 14 journalists to courts in publications' cases during 2006.
    - The summoning of 13 journalists before different prosecutions in order to be questioned and interrogated on publications' cases.
  • The second section is on the problems and sufferings of journalists in Egypt as this section documents the coercive dismissal of 56 journalists.
  • The third section documents incidents of assaults on journalists as there are 20 journalists who submitted complaints stating that they had either been physically assaulted and threatened.
  • The fourth section documents the closure of some newspapers and preventing some journalists from practicing their job.
At the end of the report, FDHRD mentioned some recommendations for both the Peoples' Assembly and Journalists' Syndicate that includes:

Recommendations to the Peoples' Assembly:
FDHRD is requesting the formation of a committee that includes a group of legal experts and journalists in addition to some members from the legislative committee in the Assembly. This committee shall do a comprehensive study on the Egyptian legislative structure in order to unify laws related to journalism's work . In this regard, FRHRD believes that there shall be a unified law that defines rights and duties. This new law shall guarantee the following:
  • Enabling workers in the filed of journalism to have access to the sources of information and putting appropriate penalties to punish individuals and bodies hindering journalists and media figures from accessing to information.
  • Abolishing restrictions on the freedom of issuing newspapers and allowing the establishment of newspapers through notifications only.
  • Abolishing all forms of censorship on newspapers and stopping the closure of newspapers without judicial judgments.
  • Working on abolishing:
    • The publications law
    • The Emergency law.
    • All exceptional laws that restrict the freedom of expression and the formation of parties.
    • Law no. 40 of 1977 related to the formation of parties.
  • Activating the freedom of forming parties and issuing parties' newspapers.
Recommendations to the Peoples' Assembly:
  • The law related to the work of journalists shall be the journalism law not the labor law in order to combat the trend of the coercive dismissal of journalists.
  • Motivating the Code of Conduct of journalists.
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