Hesba Lawsuits Terrorize Media Specialists and Threaten Freedom of Expression

April 2nd, 2013 by Editor

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses sorrow for referring many of the Egyptian media specialists to the Prosecution General Office, following filing many lawsuits against them by Egyptian lawyers which threatens freedom of expression in Egypt after the revolution.

On April 1, 2013, the Prosecution General Office referred the official report no. 5462, year 2013, filed by an Egyptian lawyer against the media specialist Bassem Yusuf to the State Security Prosecution Office. According to the official report, Bassem Yusuf within the last episode of his talk show promoted lies related to the Egyptian internal affairs including going on civil war, which distorts the image of Egypt locally and abroad.  

On April 2, 2013, the journalist Gaber Al karmouti, presenting Manshit (Headline) talk show, ON TV and Shaimaa Abu Al Kheir, journalist, advisor of the International Commission for Journalist Rights’ protection, were also referred to the State Security Prosecution Office. The referral is based on the official report no. 5461, year 2013 regarding discussing the issue of referring Bassem to the State Security Prosecution Office within Manshit episode yesterday, in which Shaimaa stated that this kind of referrals comes under the umbrella of “Hesba”; the complainer does not have direct connection with the claimed violations.

Last week, the media specialists Amr Adeb, Lamis Al hadidi and Yusuf Al Husseini were referred to the State Security Prosecution Office in connection with the official report no. 854, year 2013, accusing them of fueling the Egyptian public opinion, creating chaos and threatening peace and national security. They were accused also of creating unrest and going behind press and media professional standards.                

 EOHR is really worried about the freedom of expression in Egypt after the revolution. Hesba lawsuits returned to restrict the right of thought, expression and creativity. About 600 official complaints were filed against media specialists since having the first Egyptian president after the revolution, which represents a message to the all media specialists urging them to keep silent.

EOHR emphasizes unlimited support to the freedom of expression and creation and denounces taking thinkers to accountability for their thoughts, which represents a negative indicator to the future of the freedom of expression in Egypt. EOHR also calls for reorganizing the legislative structures in order to stop having this kind of lawsuits against the freedom of expression and placing rules for filing lawsuits, according to the international standards of human rights.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of (EOHR) stated that appearance of media specialists all the time in the prosecution offices and courts threatens the future of freedom of expression in Egypt. He expressed his shock for referring Bassem Yusuf to different prosecution office as well as referring those who talk about him to the prosecution offices too.  

Abu Seada emphasized on the importance of the freedom of expression according to the international standards of human rights. Such referrals represent threat to the freedom of expression after the Egyptian revolution.

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