World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


World’s Press Calls on Egypt to Release all Journalists

World’s Press Calls on Egypt to Release all Journalists

Article ID:

18515

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum calls on the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to recognise the importance of a free press and to release all journalists detained in Egypt.

While welcoming the move to deport Australian journalist Peter Greste back to his home country, where it is hoped charges will be dropped and he will go free, WAN-IFRA remains deeply concerned at the continued detention of his Al Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and at least nine other journalists.

“WAN-IFRA welcomes the decision to allow Peter Greste to leave Egypt but remains adamant that while journalists remain in jail in Egypt there can be no cause for celebration,” said WAN-IFRA Press Freedom Director, Andrew Heslop. “Press freedom in Egypt remains a scarce commodity and those journalists brave enough to exercise their fundamental right are increasingly paying the heaviest price. No journalist should be imprisoned for doing his or her job, and no government can claim to respect human rights if it allows the freedom of the press to rot in jail.”

Independent media in Egypt have come under intense pressure in recent months to support government policy and defence initiatives, as President Sisi attempts to bring the country to order following more than three years of political turmoil. Criticism from mainstream media has been heavily muted under widespread, popular calls for national unity in the face of mounting security and economic challenges.

The wider climate for freedom of expression is alarming with figures suggesting that anywhere between 16,000 and 40,000 political prisoners remain in jail in Egypt.

Arrested on 29th December 2013, Mr. Greste served 400 days in detention before eventually being released under a November 2014 presidential decree in which the head of state “may agree to deliver the defendants and transfer the sentenced to their own countries, either for their trial or the execution of their sentence.” It is expected that his Al Jazeera colleague, Mohamed Fahmy, who holds dual Canadian-Egyptian nationality, will also be deported under the same decree.

The fate of their Al Jazeera colleague, Baher Mohamed, and at least nine other Egyptian journalists is far less certain. WAN-IFRA calls for continued pressure from the international community to ensure that their fate is not ignored and the Egyptian authorities are held to account in terms of respecting their obligations towards freedom of expression.


For more information on WAN-IFRA’s press freedom work, visit http://www.wan-ifra.org/pressfreedom


WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Frankfurt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore and India, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.

Inquiries to: Andrew Heslop, Director, Press Freedom, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis, rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 29. Fax: +33 1 42 78 92 33. Email: andrew.heslop@wan-ifra.org

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Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2015-02-02 15:20

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