411 Cases of Violations of the Freedom of Opinion and Expression in Egypt over 10 Years

March 30th, 2009 by Editor

EOHR issues its qualitative report entitled ‘When will the president’s promise of 2004 become reality?’

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) issued its qualitative report entitled ‘When will the president’s promise of 2004 become reality?’ on Sunday 29/3/2009 to coincide with the celebration of a century of freedom of the press in Egypt since 1909.  

 

 

The report includes the following three main sections:

 

– Freedom of opinion and expression in international covenants.

 

– Legislative defects in Egyptian laws related to publishing.

 

– Cases of violations that occurred against the right to freedom of opinion and expression during the period from 2000 to 2009.

  

In this regard, EOHR monitored about 411 cases of violations against the freedom of opinion and expression during the period from 2000 to 2009 as follows:

 

– 38 cases of ill-treatment and abuse of journalists

– 33 cases of journalists before public prosecution

– 168 cases of journalists before courts

– confiscation of many publications published inside the country and outside, totaling about 130 books

– detentions and trials of bloggers  

– grave violations committed against satellite channels.     

 

EOHR has concluded that the situation of the freedom of opinion and expression in general, and the freedom of the press in particular didn’t witness a remarkable development over the past years even after the president’s promise in 2004. The image became ever darker with mouths being muzzled through the imprisonment of journalists, excessive fines imposed on them, violations committed against bloggers and confiscation of innovative books.

 

In this regard, EOHR calls for the following recommendations: 

 

– There should be a social dialogue to amend the legislative structure concerned with the freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt. This dialogue should include the abolition of laws that criminalize freedom of opinion and expression, and restrict the free flow of information and the freedom to own and publish newspapers.

 

– The president’s promise should be put into action through the abolishment of the punishment of imprisonment in publishing cases. This is to protect the press and journalists according to the Egyptian constitution and international covenants which guarantee the right to freedom of opinion and expression by simply setting a fine with a maximum limit. Those who were harmed by what was published should have the right to reply in the same newspapers and to bring civil suit for reparation before the civil court if the journalist violated the press charter.

 

– EOHR is to appeal to the Journalists’ Syndicate Council to fully implement the Charter of the Press and to ensure that the syndicate questions its members in the case of violations against the Charter’s articles.

 

– The importance of the right of individuals to obtain information should be confirmed, as well as their right to practice their freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes the freedom to seek knowledge, receive and impart information to others regardless of frontiers, either said or written or in a printed form. It is also necessary to pass a new law on the freedom of information that reflects international standards in democratic communities.

 

– Practices that violate the freedom of the press carried out by the executive authority should be halted and necessary measures should be taken to ensure the safety of journalists against repression, murder, detention, monitoring and arbitrary subjection.

 

– Freedom should be granted to political parties, unions and other legal or natural Egyptian persons to publish newspapers and broadcast via other mass media. The state’s ownership of journalistic and national institutions should be reconsidered in order not to be monopolized by one owner and one party.

 

– There should be an end to the state’s monopoly of broadcasting rights and the government’s control over national newspapers. There should also be a stop to the control on foreign publications.

 

– Finally, the state of emergency, which has been imposed since 1981 according to Emergency Law  No. 162 of 1958, should be lifted due to its serious and harmful effects on human rights in Egypt.

 

  

It is worth noting that the report will be distributed in the seminar held by EOHR and other human rights organizations working in defense of the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression, including ‘The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information’, ‘Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies’ and ‘International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX)’, on Monday 30/3/2009 at 6:00 pm at the Journalists’ Syndicate to discuss the situation of the press in Egypt.

 

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 30th, 2009 at 3:02 pm and is filed under Statements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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