To the heralds of freedom…
" To all the journalists and reporters who sacrificed their own safety for the sake of freedom "

Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue

Introduction Political Scene :

Ever since the battle on Law 93/1995 that was launched by the Press Syndicate against corruption and despotism; and along with all the attempts exerted by the syndicate and its members to entrench the freedom of the press and of the Journalists; the year 2005 witnessed the return of the syndicate for the first time in ten years to the political scene, to lead a massive battle against the governmental intervention in the affairs of the press in Egypt.

The year 2005 started only two months after the assault incident against "Al-Arabi'''s columnist and Editor in Chief "AbdelHaleem Kandeel" by incognitos. In the view of the unavailability of information on the perpetrators, and the failure of the security authority to capture them, the relationship between the syndicate and its members on one side, and the ministry of interior and the state apparatuses on the other became very tense.

At one of the meetings in the police academy, the minister of interior gave statements that were considered by the syndicate to be offensive to its role and its members. The syndicate council was convoked to an urgent meeting to discuss these statements and respond to them. The council issued a statement reviewing the assaults to which journalists were exposed (Ayman Noor - AbdelHaleem Kandeel - Ibraheem Alnooshy), and confirming its honor that none of the members of the syndicate was ever convicted in cases of political or economic corruption, as the profession of journalism has always been free and responsible for revealing corruption and pursuing corrupt persons.

A few days passed, and the president of the republic called for the amendment of article (76) of the constitution, in order to allow for a multi-candidate presidential elections. "Journalists for Change" was one of the early movements calling for change and reform, as it started issuing its non-periodical leaflet in the end of March 2005. The Press Syndicate became a shelter for all movements of reform; its head office in "Abdel Khaleq Tharwat" Street became more like a military barracks, thanks to the activity of the syndicate leadership, and their constant endeavor to act like a nexus among all reformist forces and movements.

The state apparatuses could not tolerate this role for long. In a demonstration calling for boycotting the referendum on amending article (76) of the constitution in 25 - 5 - 2005, the vigorous clash between the state and the journalists began, ending up with a number of victims, female journalists, who were subject to humiliating, cruel and degrading treatment. This was a precedent that never took place before.

The role of the Press Syndicate increased more through the eye-catching support of civil society organizations and the judiciary. Journalism played a catalyst role in the process of democratic transition within society, a role that became paramount during the comprehensive and courageous reporting of the referendum itself, as the press turned out to be the only outlet to express the feelings of hopelessness that were dominant among most of the Egyptians.

When the elections of the Syndicate Council Chairman came to horizon, the journalists almost lost the unity and harmony they enjoyed during the first seven months of the year 2005, where the issues of reform, elimination of corruption within the press institutions, and calling for democratic legislations for journalism in Egypt occupied the first priority of syndicate activism. Yet soon after that, the dispersed journalists reunited for the issue of "Parliamentary Elections", not only to provide full and close coverage of the event, but to monitor the elections and reveal any violations or non-democratic practices they could observe.

The political scene in 2005 ends with a noticeable increase of assaults against journalists because of their job, as well as an increase in the number of judicial rulings inflicting incarceration sentences upon journalists in lawsuits of publication crimes, despite the presidential pledge in February 2004 to enact a law that annuls incarceration sentences in publication crimes.

The forum is sorry to refer as well to the rise of a new phenomenon: mutual attack between journalists on the pages of newspapers. The forum considers this phenomenon to be a major obstruction on the way to democratic development in Egypt, as it negatively contributes to the unity and harmony of the press collective, in its endeavor to achieve a free and independent press. The exchange of severe criticism in between journalists through publications is to undermine the citizens' confidence in the capacity of the press to defend their freedoms and personal lives.

The forum drives attention to the necessity of containing this phenomenon. We think that the annulling of incarceration sentences in publication crimes should be hand in hand with the journalists' answer to the question of the ordinary man: what would the press do to us if the incarceration sentences were annulled?. It is a legitimate question; freedom of the press is the other side of the coin to private lives of the individuals.

The Legal Framework organizing Journalism in Egypt:
Journalism in Egypt is not governed by one legal code that defines rights and duties, but rather by an arsenal of legislations under which any talking of free and independent press would be futile. The legal framework of the profession of journalism transforms it into a great risk, with which one would prefer to quit or at least stay on the safe side. There is no need to mention here how that is in direct contradiction to the definition of journalism as a means of free expression.

Some of these laws on press are:
    1- Printed Material Law, 20/1936 amended by laws 375/1956 and 97/1992
    2- Criminal Code 85/1935 and several amendments, especially by laws 29/1982, 199/1983, 97/1992, 93/1995, and 95/1996
    3- Intelligence law 100/1971 amended by law 1/1998
    4- Law 313/1956 forbidding the publishing of any news on the armed forces, amended by law 14/1967
    5- Political parties law 40/1977 amended by laws 36/1979 and 144/1980
    6- Criminal procedures law 150/1950 and its amendments.
    7- Law of the Central Apparatus for Mobilization and Statistics, 35/1960
    8- Law 96/1996 organizing the press.
The rights of owning and issuing news papers are confiscated by law 96/1996, as articles 45 - 49, 80 in this law state the following:
I - The law deprives individuals (natural persons) from the right of owning and issuing newspapers, despite the fact that article 47 of the constitutions asserting freedom of expression addresses "human beings", i.e. natural persons not legal ones, human rights are above all rights of natural persons. The law is as well in open contradiction with article 209 of the constitution that asserts the freedom of issuing newspapers by natural and legal persons, and political parties.

The law imposes as well several limits on issuing of newspapers by public and private legal persons, as it restricts these newspapers to the form of sharing companies, or collaborative associations, the same limits that were existing during the enactment of law 148/1980 and lead to no new newspapers being established during 16 years. Additionally, the law imposed new restriction that were not in its predecessor, for instance it stipulates that a application to the High Council on Press to acquire license for a newspaper should include "its analytical and administrative structure, and its budget" , all that before actually acquiring the license and the issuing of the newspaper.

II - The law stipulates that a license should be acquired from the High Council on Press, despite using the word notification.

III-The Law states that no licenses should be inherited, i.e. in case the owner of a newspaper dies, the license is considered invalid, and the newspaper shuts down.

IV-The Law arranged for stern sentences including imprisonment up to 6 months in case the legal representative of the newspaper slackened in notifying the High Council on Press of any changes that come about regarding the data included in the notification letter after the license is issued.

Censorship on the press and the Emergency Law:
The legislations on the press gave the administrative body the right to censor, suspend, and proscribe newspapers in state of emergency (declared in Egypt since 6 October 1981- the assassination of President Sadat - till the present moment). Article 3, passage 2 of law 162/1985 gives the president (as the military ruler) or whoever acts on his behalf "the authority to order censoring correspondences, newspapers, flyers, publications, editions and all the means of expression, publicity and advertising before they are published, the authority to order there seizure, confiscation and suspension is given as well".

The presidential decision no. 1/1981 transferred the crimes of state security from the outside, state security from the inside, explosives and the "crimes committed by newspapers and others stated in articles 172-179 of the criminal code" to the High State Security (Emergency) Court.

Law 25/1966 regarding martial law, in its article 6/2 gave the president in state of emergency the right to transfer to the Military judiciary any of the crimes of the criminal code or any other code. Therefore, civilians can be tried before martial courts, and deprived from trial before their natural judge.

Principles devised by the international documents
International documents, covenants, conventions and resolutions on human rights defined the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, and imparting of information, since the issuing of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights in December 1948 issued by a United Nations General Assembly resolution, considered to be the primary source on this issue. The declaration includes in article 19: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights issued by the United Nation General assembly in December 1966 to confirm that in article 19 passage 2: " Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.".

The third source to confirm freedom of expression as a right of all human beings was the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, as it states in article 9: " 1 Every individual shall have the right to receive information. 2. Every individual shall have the right to express and disseminate his opinions within the law. "

Principles devised by the Egyptian Judiciary
The Supreme Constitutional Court has entrenched in many rulings the principles of freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, expression, creativity, research, and criticism, an example of these rulings would be:

"As the existing constitution has stated in article 47, that freedom of opinion is guaranteed, and that every human being has the right to express his opinion and make it public by speech, writing, drawing or any other means within the borders of the law. And as the constitution guaranteed by this provision the right of expressing opinion in a broad sense that includes freedom of expressing opinions in all fields: political, economic or social.

The constitution, however, paid attention to the right of self-criticism and constructive criticism, being considered two pillars of the national construction, aiming by that at confirming that criticism, despite being a branch of freedom of expression, is more distinguished by the constitution drafters as it is in their estimation an essentiality without which national action does not stand. That is because criticism - especially in the political aspects - is considered to be a direct contribution to the conservation of the reciprocal surveillance between legislative and executive authorities, and a necessity for disciplined conduct in democratic states, and a hindrance to any violation of the citizen's right to know, and to be - in the view of the very complicated organization of governmental work - able to penetrate to the full truth pertaining to the way it acts.

However, it should be understood that the constructive nature of criticism that the constitution was keen on confirming, does not mean that the executive authority may observe the opposing opinion in order to define what is objective according to its estimation.

If this comes to being, this authority would confiscate the right to public dialogue, a right that should be given to every citizen on absolutely equal bases. What the constitutions means by constructive is that criticism would not imply opinion of no social value, like those whose only goal is the healing of personal envies and feuds, or those connoting obscenity or pure defamation.

The constitutional protection does not encompass the opinions that have some social value but are expressed in a way that confiscates the freedom of discussion or dialogue, like those inciting illegal actions.

Therefore, the constructive nature of criticism does not necessarily mean the observation of every phrase in a publication and evaluating it away from the original context with strict criteria. As what someone may see right in a certain part might be essentially wrong to others. If the freedom of expression is to breathe in the atmosphere away from which it can not live, a certain amount of transgression should be tolerated, as eccentricity of opinions can not be a reason for curbing their imparting." (Ruling no. 37, judicial year 11, session 6 - 2 - 1993. Ruling no. 42, judicial year 16, session 20 - 5 - 1995)

Section 1
Pressures on the freedom of the press

First: Judicial Rulings Concerning Journalists
No. Name Sentence Lawsuit no. /Court Type of Lawsuit
1 Essam Hady

Innocent, and rejection of civil suit

17711/2004 Court of Misdemeanors Hadaek Libel



Hossam Mohammed Six months imprisonment and 5000 LE fine.   Libel VS. TV Show Host Hala Sarhan
Abdelnasser Alzeheiry

Alaa AlGhatreefy Yousef Alomy AbdelRaheem

One Year in prison with labor, and 1000 LE fine for each   Libel VS. the former Minister of Housing

Ahmed Hashem
Elsayed Aldab'e

1000 LE fine   Libel VS. the  Minister of Culture


Ahmed Fadl Shablool   Ahmed Abdel Razeq Annulling the three months in prison sentence issued by Kasr El- Nil Misdemeanor Court in case 8636/2005 Appealed Misdemeanor
Kasr El- Nil
Libel VS. writer Mahfouz AbdelRhaman
9 Ahmed Ezzedine Two years Imprisonment and 20000LE fine  Cairo Court of Felonies Libel VS. Dr. Yousef Wali, former minister of Agriculture
10 Mohammed Yousef

Six Months in prison

Issuing a publication without license


AbdelFatah Abdellateef 10000LE Fine 749/2004
Portsaeed Felonies
Libel VS. the Secretary General of Portsaid Governorate
12  Tark Albassal 10000LE Fine 899/2004
Portsaeed Felonies
Libel VS. the Secretary General of Portsaid Governorate
Hamdy Hamada
Adel Hamouda
Essam Ismail Fahmy
Rejection of both civil and criminal suits 2177/2004 Agouza Court of Misdemeanors  
Mahmoud Alshenawy
Saeed AbdelKhaleq
Ahmed Abdel Mawgood
Non Jurisdiction, and transference to Cairo Court of Felonies 155/2005 Court of Misdemeanors Hadaek  
19 Abdel Fattah Abbas 3000LE fine + 2001LE temporary compensation + 50LE bail 12786/2004
Azbakia Court of Misdemeanors
  Sameer Ragab
Mohammed Tohamy
3000LE fine for each + 2001LE temporary compensation + 50LE bail 12974/2004
Azbakia Court of Misdemeanors
  22 23 Sameer Ragab

Randa Gamal

3000LE fine for each + 2001LE temporary compensation + 50LE bail    
  24 Mohammed Abu Lowaia

Annulling six months in prison sentence, and 7750LE Fine

Boulak Court of Appeals Libel VS. Ibraheem Nafi'e Former Cairman of the Board of Al-Ahram institutions
25   Magedy Albassiouni


Innocent   Libel VS. an official in the ministry of agriculture
Mostafa Bakry
Mahmoud Bakry
Innocent and rejection of the Civil suit 1320/2005
Court of Misdemeanors Kasr El- Nil
Libel VS. Algomhoria Newspaper
28   Mostafa Bakry Innocent and rejection of the Civil suit 1321/2005
Court of Misdemeanors Kasr El- Nil
Libel VS. Mohammed Ali Ibraheem, journalist in Algomhoria
29   Mostafa Bakry Rejection of Suit South Cairo Primary Court Libel VS. Sameer Ragab, Former Chairman of the Board of Tahrir Institution
30 Mohammed Arafa Innocent   Libel
31 Saeed Farag Innocent Cairo Court of Felonies D.12 Forgery

Second: Journalists before court during 2005
No. Name Lawsuit no. /Court Type of Lawsuit
Essam Abdel Hameed
öAbdeHaleem Kandeel
 Abdullah Alsenawwi
D. 18
Cairo Court of Felonies
Libel VS. the commissioned member of the board of the Engineering Company for Car Manufacturing
4 Salah Hamed   Libel VS. a lawyer
Sameer Ragab
Kadry Azab
Azbakia Court of Misdemeanors
Sameer Ragab
Saeed Alfakharany
Azbakia Court of Misdemeanors
9 Algomhoria chairman of the board 3317/2005
Azbakia Court of Misdemeanors
Essam Kamel Ahmed
Mohammed Salah
Alaa Ezzat Mohammed
Hadaek Court of Misdemeanors
Mohammed Tohami
Algomhoria Editor in Cheif
Azbakia Court of Misdemeanors
15 Ahemd Badawi   Libel
Mohammed Elsayyed
Adel Hamouda
Agouza Court of Misdemeanors
Essam Ismail Fahmi
Adel Mohammed Ibraheem
Mohammed Tharwat
Agouza Court of Misdemeanors
21 Hussein Mahmoud Fami 17188/2044
Dokki Court of Misdemeanors
Libel VS. Roqayya Al-Sadat
22 Hussein Amer 33488/2004
Agouza Court of Misdemeanors
Saeed Zainhum
Yasser Barakat
9846, 9847, 9848
Cairo Court of Felonies
Libel VS. Ayman Noor
  Adel Hamouda
Ola Adel
Hanaa Hammad
Sidi Gaber Court of Misdemeanors
Libel VS. Dr. Hazem Al- Fiki

Third: Journalists before public prosecution during 2005

No. Name Lawsuit no. /Public Prosecutor Type of Lawsuit
Adel Hamouda
Mohammed Albaz
Manal Lasheen
Cairo Appealing Prosecution
Libel VS. Dr. Mohammed Ibraheem Soliman
4 Fady Emile Cairo Appealing Prosecution Libel VS. Anba Morkus Aziz
Adel Hamouda
Mohammed Albaz
Cairo Appealing Prosecution
Salah Hamed
Algomohoria Editor in Cheif
South Giza Libel VS. a Lawyer
9 Farouk Gowida   Libel VS. public prosecution
10 Ibraheem Alsahary State Security Prosecution Libel VS. the President of the Republic
11 Ahmed Abu Abdallah (Abu Islam) State Security Prosecution Threatening National Unity
12 Adel Hamouda Cairo Appealing Prosecution Libel VS. Emaddedeen Adeeb
13 Ahmed Ezzedine Elghoul State Security Prosecution Possession of publications and papers related to the Muslim Brothehood
  14 15   Adel Hamouda Manal Lashine   Cairo Appealing Prosecution Libel VS. Dr. Mohammed Ibraheem Soliman
16 Shakeek Altaher 79/2004
Cairo Appealing Prosecution
Libel VS. Mortada Manour
17 Shakeek Altaher Cairo Appealing Prosecution Despising christianity
18 Talaat Hashem Cairo Appealing Prosecution Libel VS. Mustafa Bakry
19 Mustafa Bakry Cairo Appealing Prosecution Libel VS. Ibraheem Nafi
20 Ibraheem Nafi Cairo Appealing Prosecution Report by Mustafa Bakry on wasting public property in Al- Ahram

Case studies on Lawsuits of Journalists

1- Abdelnasser Alzeheiry
Alaa AlGhatreefy
Yousef Alomy AbdelRaheem
Three journalists of the daily "Almasry Al-Youm - The Egyptian Today", accused of libeling the former Minister of Housing Mohammed Ibraheem Soliman, were sentenced in absentia by the Cairo Court of Felonies On 17-4-2005 to one year in prison with labor, and a total of 10000LE fine as compensation to the plaintiff.

The ruling was appealed and the final pronunciation was adjourned to the 26-1-2006 session.

2- Ahmed Hashem
Alsayyed Aldab'e
Journalist and Editor in Chief of "Albayan Almasry" accused of libeling the Minister of Culture, were sentenced by the Cairo Court of Felonies On 14-4-2005 to a total of 10000LE fine for each, and a temporary civil compensation of 2001LE to the plaintiff.

3- Mustafa Bakry
Editor in Chief of "Al-Osbo'o" weekly and others, accused of libeling Dr. Mohammed Helmy AbdelAziz. North Cairo Primary Court, division 17 compensations, rejected the suit (1988/2002)

4- Mona Madkoor
Journalist of "Al-Osbo'o" accused of libeling Dr. Mohammed Salem Al-Abaddy. Kasr El-Nil Court of Misdemeanors ruled non-jurisdiction on 12-11-2005. Case (13021/2005).

5- Mustafa Bakry
Mahmoud Bakry
Editor in Cheif and Journalist of "Al-Osbo'o" accused of libeling Al-Gomhoria Newspaper, in Lawsuits filed by Mohammed Ali Ibraheem 11321/2005 and Mohammed Noor El-din 11322/2005. Kasr El-Nil Court of Misdemeanors found them innocent and rejected the civil suit on 8-10-2005.

6- Mustafa Bakry
Editor in Chief of "Al-Osbo'o" weekly, in the lawsuit filed by Sobhy Mohammed Albadry 11320/2005. Kasr El-Nil Court of Misdemeanors found them innocent and rejected the civil suit on 8-10-2005.

7- Mustafa Bakry
Editor in Chief of "Al-Osbo'o" weekly accused of libeling Sameer Ragab (former Chairman of the board and Editor in Chief of Algomhoria). South Cairo Primary Court , division 24 compensations, rejected the suit.

8- Ahmed Fadl Shablool
Ahmed Abdel Razeq
Accused of libeling writer\ Mahfouz AbdelRahman, were sentenced by Kasr El-Nil Court of Misdemeanors (8636/2004) to three months in prison, and a temporary compensation of 2001LE. The defendants appealed to the verdict to the Kasr El-Nil Court of Appeals and were found innocent, and the court rejected the suit.

9- Mohammed Arafa
Journalist of "Al-Akhbar", accused of libeling Ghada Mohammed, was found innocent by Boulak Court of Misdemeanors.

10 - Mohammed Abu Lowaia
Accused of libeling Ibraheem Nafi' (former Chairman of the board and Editor in Chief of Al-Ahram). Boulak Court of Appeals annulled a former verdict of six months in prison, and preserving a fine of 7750LE, on 7-3-2005

11- Magedy Albassiouni
Journalist of the weekly "Al-Arabi", accused of libeling one of the ministry of agriculture officials, was found innocent by the Cairo Court of Felonies. The court asserted in the ruling the right of a journalist to criticize and express his opinion according to article 47 of the constitution.

12 - Ahmed Ezzedine
Accused of Libeling Dr. Yousef Wali, former minister of Agriculture, was sentenced by the Cairo Court of Felonies, Division 10c, to two years in prison, and a fine of 20000LE.

13- Mohammed Yousef
Accused of issuing a publication without a license, was sentenced by the Abdeen Court of Misdemeanors to six months in prison and a 1000LE fine (8489/2005)

Fourth: Assaults on Journalist because of their work during 2005

1- Mustafa Mansy

Assistant Editor in Chief of "Al-Hakika" newspaper, was exposed to verbal abuse, expelled from the Head Office of Al-Fayoum Governorate, prevented from doing his job covering the activities of the Governorate without a clear reason. He filed a report to Cairo Prosecution of Appeals to investigate the assault incident.

2- Alsayyed Abdelsame'e
reporter of "Al-wafd" daily at Alqantara, was hindered from attending a meeting with some officials and leaders in the Governorate of Ismailia. No clear reason was given, and he was treated in a degrading way.

3- Shaimaa Abul Khir (Addostoor)
Abeer Al-Askary (Addostoor)
Nawal Ali ( Al-Geel)
Iman Taha (Freelance reporter)

All of these (female) reporters, were exposed to violent verbal and physical abuse, in front of the head office of the Press Syndicate, while they were covering a demonstration of "Kefaya" movement and other political forces calling for boycotting the referendum on the constitutional amendment.

Some men in civil outfits tore their close apart and beat them relentlessly in the presence of security forces standing in front of the Syndicate building, on 25-5-2005, the day of the referendum. The Lawsuit was recorded 7165/2005 misdemeanors, Kasr El-Nil.

In the early days of 2006, the prosecution decided that there was no way to start a criminal suit as the perpetrators were unknown.

4- Amr Nabil
Photographer at AP news agency, received an injury in the right eye, and was threatened of internment while following up with parliamentary elections at one of the local constituencies.

5- Asmaa Mohammed Ali
Reporter of "Al-Karama" newspaper, was exposed to physical assault, her clothes were torn apart, she was taken in a car to an unknown place where she was threatened of internment, and all her property was taken ( Camera, Cell Phone). After some hours they threw her in Abdel Mone'em Riadh Square, almost unconscious.

This happened during her covering of the parliamentary elections at Shubra Al-Khaima constituency.

6- Aljazeera Satellite Channel Crew
The crew was arrested by security forces and was detained for several hours in the building of the ministry of interior, to hinder them from attending the convention of the extraordinary General Assembly of the Judges Club.

Hussein AbdulGhani the director of Aljazeera office in Cairo was attacj\ked by one of the officers.

7- Osama Orabi
Rapporteur of the Literature Committee of the Cairo Atelier. His House was broken into by a force of State Security Investigations officers (Dawn Visitors). The house was thoroughly searchedfurniture thrown about, and he was questioned about his work, friends, and places he often visits. All these questions and others were not based upon a prosecution permission or any other clear legal basis.

8- Aid AbdelGawwad
"Al- Masry Al-Youm" reporter was prevented from entering the building of the Governorate of Cairo, as the governor has given instruction to stop dealing with him because the newspaper had published an article on the problems of the city asking if "the governor had acquired a proxy from the inhabitants of Cairo to express allegiance to the president in their names".

9- Ahmed Mansour
Show host at Aljazeera Satellite Channel, was beaten up in front of Aljazeera office in Cairo, as some men in civil outfits reviled and punched him, they escaped without any interference from any one.

10- Dr. Sayyed Alkimni
Renowned scholar and Islamic researcher issued a statement to announce his retirement from writing or speaking to the Media, as well as abjuring all his former writings. The statement was issued in aftermath of him receiving threats of murder from a fundamentalist group in an Email message.

11- Emad Taha

Was beaten up by some of the proponents of the Muslim Brotherhood, after some critical articles he published in "Rosa Al - Yousef" during the parliamentary elections 2005.

12- Mohammed Rabe'e
MAmdouh Al- Mosalamy
And others at "Al-Geel" newspaper, were arbitrarily dismissed because they asked for their salaries and asked to be officially employed. They filed report 5505/2005 at Kasr El-Nil precinct.

13- Alsayyed Gamaledin
Reporter of "Al- Osbo'o" was attacked by security forces inside the office of the National Council on Women; he was verbally abused and pushed over the stairs of the office, that which led to him being injured.

14- Fouad Alsayyed Soltan
Enlisted by the Ministry of Interior in the Arrival Surveillance Lists since 1981 although he was never accused officially in any lawsuit, he is being detained in the Customs Department whenever he travels to or from Egypt to cover international conferences and seminars.

15- Adel Al-Ansari
Executive Editor of "Aafaq Arabia". His House was broken into and searched by a force of State Security Investigations officers (Dawn Visitors) on the first of April, he was taken to the State Security Investigations office because of his covering of one of the demonstrations in Cairo. He was detained for a week until the press syndicate intervened to set him free.

16- Mustafa Bakry
Mahmoud Bakry
Editor in Cheif and Journalist of "Al-Osbo'o". Their house was broken into by security forces on the 3rd of March, to execute a sentence against them in one of the libel lawsuits. They were detained in the Appeal Prison, then they were transferred to Torah Farm Jail where they stayed for 25 day, until Cairo Court of Felonies accepted their petition and they were set free.

Section 2
Elections of the Press Syndicate

The "Press Observer" of the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue monitored the Elections of the Press Syndicate that took place on Sunday 25-9-2005, whose results ended at the success of candidate Galal Aref, and Candidate Ibraheem Hegazy in qualifying to the run-off round, the latter took on Thursday 29-9-2005

The legal framework of the electoral process
Elections of professional syndicates, including the Press Syndicate, are governed by Law 100/1993 amended by Law 5/1995 on the Democracy of Professional Organizations. This law stipulates that a judicial committee supervises the elections (article 6), as well as the participation of half of the registered members of the general assembly who are eligible to elect (article 2). The law stipulates also that the winner of the Elections on the seat of (Chairman of the Syndicate Council) wins the absolute majority of the valid ballots (50+1).

The general atmosphere of the elections
The elections were held this time after 13 appeals and 17 complaints received by the judicial supervisory committee, and amidst a status of mobilization within the Egyptian political street, of which professional syndicates became an important part. The Press Syndicate, especially, acquired particular importance as it hosted all the pro-change movements to hold seminars in its halls, and to demonstrate and strike in front of its head office, for the sake of the principles of freedom of opinion and expression.

The elections came in a short while after the replacement of the heads of the National Press Institutions, that which added a sense of competition to the elections, especially after three candidates from Al-Ahram applied.

We noticed that the electoral campaigns played the string of the backward financial circumstances most journalists live. Most slogans came with promises of salary raises, state-sponsored health insurance, distribution of cell phones, and providing houses for them, meanwhile, ministries and governmental institutions denied giving any facilities to any of the candidates to fulfill their promises.

Interestingly, Al-Ahram institution held a meeting in the eve of the elections, where a great number of journalists attended, with the three candidates Osama Al-Ghazaly Harb, Ibraheem Hegazy, and Osama Gheith among them. A verbal dispute took place between "Al-Ahram" daily editor in Chief Osama Saraya and journalist Anwar Al-Hawwary after some journalists approached corruption within the institution, and Saraya trying to end the meeting amidst everybody's rejection of ending it.

First Round:
Candidates and Electoral Committees

11 candidates applied for the Chairman position:
    1- Ibraheem Mohammed Hegazy (Al -Ahram)
    2- Ahmed AbdelAzeem Algebaly
    3- Osama Alghazaly Harb (Al-Ahram)
    4- Osama Gheith (Al- Ahram)
    5- Alsayyed Mohammed Al-ISakandarany
    6- Galal Aref (Akhber Al-youm) The last chairman
    7- Fayyez AbdelMageed
    8- Mustafa Bakry (Alosbo'o)
    9- Mohammed Naguib AbdelKader Ibraheem
    10- Nadia Mohammed Hamdy
    11- Yosriya Hussein Ahmed Nasser (Al-Wafd)
The number of members eligible to vote is 4450, voters were distributed into 20 committees according to Alphabetical Order.
The committees started receiving voters at 9 AM and on to 5 PM. Counting results were declared at almost 6 30 Pm, where the number of valid ballots was 3045 almost 69 percent of all eligible members, Galal Aref acquired the highest number of votes with 1193, next was Ibraheem Hegazy with 940, followed by Mustafa Bakry with 609, then Osama Alghazly Harb with 223, and finally Osama Gheith with 77.

An evaluative approach to the first round of the Elections
The first phase of the elections witness a number of positive points, some of them are:
    1- The scarcity of security presence almost to the extent of non-existence, an scene that has been absent for long months, as Central Security Wagons and barricades were always around the place.

    2- Regarding the Electoral process itself, the observers noticed an atmosphere of discipline and organization all along the elections. In front of every electoral committee office the candidates list and the voters' lists with registration numbers were on the wall. Signs were there as well at the entrance of the building, in order to easily locate the appropriate committee for each member.

    3- All the Candidates were present with their supporters since early morning, and in the tent surrounding the syndicate building.
However, there were some negative aspects, despite the fact the press syndicate is a few-number-membership syndicate, and the homogeneity of journalists as a stratum. Some of these negative points noticed by our observers were:
    1- Candidate no. 11 Yosriya Hussein Ahmed Nasser could not find her name in the voters lists in committee no. 20 in which she supposedly has the right to vote.

    2- Candidate no. 8 Mustafa Bakry used several means of electoral bribery, such as distributing "Al-Osbo'o" freely among the voters, distributing hot meals and soft drinks, as well as giving pens on which "Mustafa Bakry your candidate for Chairman of the Syndicate Council" is written. 3- A fight was stirred up between the supporters of Mustafa Bakry and those of Galal Aref, as a result of the latter using the Syndicate projector to display his achievements during the last two years.

    4- Some of the activists in Galal Aref's campaign distributed a leaflet calling for a demonstration on 27-9 in the name of "Journalists for Change" movement.

    5- The forum received a complaint from candidate "Nadia Hamdy", that KAram Gabr the chairman of the board of Rosa Al- yousef institutions canceled a meeting that she was supposed to hold with the journalists of the institution to speak of her electoral program, and replaced her with another candidate ( Ibraheem Hegazy)

    6- Some candidates used new means of electoral campaigning, one of the most prominent of which was used by Mustafa Bakry's Cell Phone Short Messages that was sent to most of the journalists registered in the syndicate, the most eccentric of which was "Ask your Heart. God Be with us for Egypt and the Syndicate.. Mustafa Bakry"

    7- Some of the electoral flyers contained aggressive phrases, and an exchange of accusations. One of these was a statement against Ibraheem Hegazy with the title "He introduces services according to the theory of everything has a price", another one against Bakry titled "Has there been a dispute between Bakry and Nafi'e after Nafi'e's loss of power, and the imminent privatization of National institutions?", and another bearing the title "Not you Mustafa"

Second round (run-offs)
The run-off round was held on Thursday 29-9, the results gave Galal Aref the post of the chairman with 1675 votes, whereas Hegazy got 1087.

Our observers recorded the following notes:
    1- The opening of the voting offices was late by 30 minutes, as it started receiving voters at 9 30 while it was supposed to start at 9.

    2- Less number of voters participated in this round than the former, 2782 journalists attended the run-offs, where as 3045 attended the first phase. The number of valid votes was 2762 after 20 invalid ones were cast.

    3- In this round, the alliances and pacts of famous journalists in favor of a certain candidate (mostly Aref) came to view. Former candidate Mustafa Bakry came to the syndicate office at almost 11 AM and declared he sides with Aref, and stood by him for a long time welcoming proponents and supporters, the same happened with columnists Hamdeen Sabahy, Abdullah Al-Senawwi, Iqbal Baraka, and Mohammed Ooda. In addition to the support of dr. Diaa' Rashwan, the strategic expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, to the extent that he held the campaigning card with Aref's picture on, and stood at the door welcoming journalists showing the card in his hand.

    4- 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).

    5- Some members of the "Journalists for Change" movement, on top of whom Mohammed Abdellah and Manal Egremah disribited an article titles "detest of Homeland" supporting Aref and attacking Hegazy. Some of the phrases in the article say "Tomorrow, Thursday, we will raise our hands with sharp knives to cut the body of corruption. Our sharp knives will be the ballots in which we will write the name of Galal Aref to re-elect him. His contender is colleague "Ibraheem Hegazy", who was asked about corruption and answered that what being published is loose talking. He doesn't have anything else to say, being a member of the board of directors of Al-Ahram for years, he is an associate of the former chairman Ibraheem Nafi'e in all the corruption that has been revealed now or later"

    6- Some clashes occurred between Mohammed Abdellah and the supporters of Hegazy as they were trying to prevent him from distributing the aforementioned article.

    7- Candidate Galal Aref displayed his achievements as a chairman of the council using a Data Show at the entrance of the syndicate building, he mounted several articles in his favor on the walls as well, like the articles of Saad Hagrass, Mustafa Bakry , and an article published in Al-dostoor .

    8- Candidate Ibraheem Hegazy organized his campaign through Creation Team company for advertising and promotion, he gave out candies to the voters, in their inner cover he wrote "vote for Ibraheem Hegazy, as a Chairman of the Syndicate Council"

Section 3
Sever Criticism within the Press Collective on the pages of Newspapers

The press collective represents the cornerstone within the matrix of press freedom. This collective possesses a considerable capacity of communicating and influencing the public, and if the press collective seeks to support the human rights movement, the unions, and all the other societal currents in order to acquire their support in performing its task defending the freedom of the press, and therefore the freedom of citizens and the homeland; this can not be fulfilled if the press collective itself is fractured. Newspapers represent on of the most important means of expression and communication within society, therefore the press collective should not use the pages of these newspapers to inflict severe and harsh criticism upon itself.

Journalists, more than anybody else, have the capacity to solve internal problems through professional or unionist methods.

The press collective should restrict the use of newspapers to the task expected by the reader: to be a means of communication and information imparting, as well as the gate to solve his daily problems.

It is really pitiful that mutual attack between newspapers increases meanwhile the press collective is fighting a great battle to abolish incarceration sentences in publication crimes, that which reflexes a negative image of journalists, regarding their capacity of self-possessing if criticized, their ability to control their wording when showing objection or disagreement. The legitimate question that jumps to the mind of the ordinary citizen is how would these journalists, being as irresponsible and indifferent to the feelings of colleagues, defend his rights?

From this perspective, and as the forum is very keen on sharing the responsibility for freedom of the press, holding it as a public responsibility of all Egyptians, we have - during the past year - taken upon ourselves the task of observing the articles, news pieces, and essays implying criticism of other journalists or press institutions, depending on the methodology of quantitative content analysis.

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.

Case Studies of Severe criticism:

No. Quotation/subject/title Date Newspaper
1 - Sameer Ragab senses the approach of his departure, and Ahmed Meselhi escapes Dar Al-Ta'awon
- Sameer Ragab punishes two prominent journalists because one of them dreamt that the other will be the chairman of the institutions
- brining down Sameer Ragab is equal to bringing down the Bastille
13-6-2005 Al- Osbo'o
2 Sameer Ragab tries to convince a prominent leader in the NDP to issue "Mayo" magazine daily, and keeping him as the Editor in Chief 14-6-2005 Al- Osbo'o
3 Ibraheem Si'eda, for whom does he cry? 27-6-2005 Al- Osbo'o
4 A new bomb for Ibraheem Si'eda, this time blowing himself up 27-6-2005 Al- Osbo'o
5 What is the explanation of two contradictory stories by security sources published by Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar? 2-5-2005 Al- Osbo'o
6 - A stigma on the face of Al-Ghad Party and "Al-Masry Al-youm" newspaper after Ghad's vice president was caught red handed with the Israeli's
- Overlooking Hesham Kassem in Al-masry Al-Youm surrounds the newspaper with a circle of doubts and suspicions.
30-5-2005 Al- Osbo'o
7   national newspapers compete in introducing congratulations in the President's Birthday, so as that they are not void of hypocrisy and cajolery.                9-5-2005 Al- Osbo'o
8 On the jurisprudence of the estate journalism. 1 2-6-2005 Al Masry Al Youm
9 On the jurisprudence of the estate journalism. 2 2-6-2005 Al Masry Al Youm
10 On the jurisprudence of the estate journalism. 3 2-6-2005 Al Masry Al Youm
11 Magdi Mehanna attacks Magdi Abdelrasool from Al-Arabi accusing him of making up a story on the alleged support of the American Embassy to some leaders of Al-wafd party. 7-12-2005 Al Masry Al Youm
12 Sameer Ragab ruined it! 11-7-2005 Al- Osbo'o
13 A scandal, an American Class Ad in a national Newspaper : We need Spies!! 6-6-2005 Al- Osbo'o
14 The Scandal of Rosa Al-yousef, an article by Ahmed Mansour 10-11-2005 Al Masry Al Youm
15 Hossam Badrawi denies the statements attributed to him by Al-MAsry Al-youm   31-10-2005 Rosa Al-Yousef (Newspapers)
16 They have become reporters for the ministry of interior in their newspapers instead of being reporters for the newspapers in the ministry.
Journalists call some crime editors : sir, Mr. General
23-3-2005 Al-Dostoor
17 The specialized pages became areas for rent, we want a public apology from those responsible for pages of the ministry of agriculture. 30-3-2005 Al-Dostoor
The creations of Sameer Ragab as seen by his readers
30-3-2005 Al-Dostoor
19 Al-Dostoor's fault 30-3-2005 Al-Dostoor
20 The secret behind the interest of Xinhua Chinese news agency. 30-3-2005 Al-Dostoor
21 Makram, Kefaya, and traditions, the fall of the editor in chief 27-4-2005 Al-Dostoor
22 A bathroom is not a bathroom without Al-ahram newspaper 20-4-2005 Al-Dostoor
23 How to become a striped journalist in three steps! 30-4-2005 Al-Dostoor
24 A message from an adolescent journalist to a writer in the autumn of his days 25-5-2005 Al-Dostoor
25 Blessed is he whose uncle – or aunt – is the editor in chief 25-5-2005 Al-Dostoor
26 Chairman of the Press Syndicate was present in the workshop of blowing the Press!!
Ahmed Kamal Abulmagd describes journalist as lacking of awareness, and Georgette Qellini accuses them of transgressing the lines.
25-5-2005 Al-Dostoor
27 Spread lately like fire through a dry forrest, "bluffing, referring, and imprisonment" in crime newspapers. 25-5-2005 Al-Dostoor
28 The Pasha, his Excellency General Journalist is advocating his colleague his Excellency General Policeman, cool! It's a matter between generals, and to hell with ethics of the profession.
Will the government press strip off its underwear? 
1-6-2005 Al-Dostoor
29 I hope that Ibraheem Si'eda will leave "Akhbar Al-youm", didn't he say he resigned?? May the rest follow!! 22-6-2005 Al-Dostoor
30 How to bootlick your Editor in Chief? An introduction to the theory of "your Excellency's doodling is a planning of my life"  22 -6-2005 Al-Dostoor
31 From the one party to freak writer. The worlds of journalism in the wedding march of allegiance and renewal 2-1-2005 Al-Arabi
32 Firgani asks Al-Ahram to stick with precision, and denies that any sections were omitted from the "Human Development Report" before it was printed. 9-1-2005 Al-Arabi
33 The surprises of acting, after two weeks,
Mr. Anwar expresses his opinion and practices his work
15-5-2005 Al-Arabi
34 National press gives allegiance, Partisan press falls, the group of conveyance and "Acrobat" 22-5-2005 Al-Arabi
35 Ali Sa'eed reveals its secrets with documents: The beginning and the end of Ibraheem Si'eda's empire at Akhbar Al-youm
The state commissioners department recommends his ouster, and the meeting with the President decides to go or to stay.
He sold the lands of Almaza with 23 millions, while it's worth multiples.
The report of the Audition Apparatus criticizes the selling o Arcadia lands dirt cheap. The Apparatus accuses Si'eda of fraud to escape taxes and registration fees.
26-6-2005 Al-Arabi
36 Colleagues in October magazine speak to you of what's happening in Albanna and son's estate. 26-6-2005 Al-Arabi
37 The situation of the press in General , and the national institutions in particular are no longer valid for reforming, restoration, or patching. 10-4-2005 Al-Arabi
38 The Editor in Chief of the police magazine salutes you from another place.
Why does Salah Issa insist on writing for the police magazine?
27-4-2005 Al-Dostoor
39 Al-Qahirah newspaper and the cure to news poverty 13-4-2005 Al-Dostoor
40 The Lessons of Ahmed Baha'a that should be learnt by Ragab Albanna 22-6-2005 Al-Dostoor
41 On journalism, eggs, and hypocrites 4-5-2005 Al-Dostoor
42 Who owns the national newspapers? Off course no one, the state married the chairmen and the editors in chief with an illegitimate marriage. They call it an organic relationship. 22-6-2005 Al-Dostoor
43 The pictures reveals the lying of Al-Ahram and Nahdet Masr on the meeting of Al- Wafd President and the chairman of the council of the bar association. 29-3-2005 Al-Wafd
45 The referendum brokers and the journalism of menopause 23-5-2005 Al-Wafd
46 The dreams of Mahfouz and the scandals of the press 18-5-2005 Al-Wafd
47 Mr. Galal, you have to cover yourself with two papers, one of tehm on your mouth 16-5-2005 Al-Wafd
48 Liberation of Media, forget it!! 30-8-2005 Al-Wafd
49 Nahdet Masr calls itself liberal and refuses to publish the replies. 4-5-2005 Al-Ahali
50 A competition between national newspapers in campaigning for Mubarak 24-8-2005 Al-Ahali
51 Sout Al-ummah aroused Sameer Ragab and one of Al-Ahram righters 30-5-2005 Sout Al-ummah
52 The heads of the national newspapers polluted the public atmosphere with there greed and envy, they are the reason behind the degradation. 27-6-2005 Sout Al-ummah
53 An exposed farce:
Ibraheem Si'eda extorting the state to support the editors in chief of the national newspapers
20-6-2005 Sout Al-ummah
54 Do not say national newspapers, say governmental newspapers. 1-11-2005 Nahdet Masr
55 How is Al-Ghad newspaper funded?? A daily for only a quarter. 12-8-2005 Rosa Al-Yousef (Magazine)
  They have turned into furnished apartments, whose resident controls the fates of young journalists. 27-8-2005 Rosa Al-Yousef (Magazine)
56 Partisan newspapers: discipline and Punish. 2-9-2005 Rosa Al-Yousef (Magazine)
57 The pens of Sa'ad: the Egyptian newspapers speaking for the US 11-6-2005 Rosa Al-Yousef (Magazine)

    1- An exhaustive revision of the criminal code that includes 27 articles leading to incarceration sentences in the lawsuits of publication.
    2- Abolishing the printed material Law.
    3- Abolishing the emergency law, and all the other exceptional and restrictive codes
    4- Abolishing law no. 40/1977 on political parties, and opening the door for the formation of new parties and newspapers.
    5- Allowing for individuals and companies (of all forms) to issue newspapers.
    6- Amending the law on Press Syndicate in a way that allows for journalism and journalists to be free.
    7- Issuing a uniform law on press in Egypt
    8- Making the relationship between the journalist and the press institution in accordance with the Press law instead of the Labor law in a way that guarantees financial security to journalists during their working time.
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