Release of the Al Jazeera Director in Egypt

July 7th, 2013 by Editor

The Prosecutor of Bulaq, Abu El Ela, agreed on discharging Abdel Fattah Fayed, Director of Al Jazeera office in Cairo, on bail of ten thousand Egyptian pounds.

Abdel Fattah Fayed was presented to the Prosecutor of Bulaq, Abu El Ela on July 7, 2013, under case no. 3905 of 2013 in Bulaq Misdemeanor Court. Abdel Fattah Fayed is charged with managing a channel without license. Nejad El Borai, the Legal Advisor of the channel, and Mohamed Mahmud of the office of Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, attended the investigation. The defense presented a license from the Media Production City, broadcasting from outside the city; and the rule of the Administrative Court entitled channels to broadcast from within or from outside the city. Thereby the Prosecutor decided to release Mr. Abdel Fattah Fayed on bail of ten thousand Egyptian pounds. 

In this context, EOHR emphasizes on the need of respecting the international standards on the freedom of opinion and expression, which is also guaranteed by the Egyptian legislation. It stresses on the need to change the Egyptian authorities’ policies about these freedoms and the right to exchange information, especially after the 30 June Revolution. The policy of ‘gagging’, which was designed by the former regimes, has to be abolished. The former practices must disappear (storming the headquarters of satellite channels, threat to shut down the channel, withdrawal of licenses, closure of newspapers and persecution of activist and bloggers). EOHR demands the interim President and his government to quickly take concrete steps to ensure the freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the freedom of the press and the media. It needs to increase the freedom area of journalists and media professionals, without constraints or compromises, because these violations offend the human rights position of Egypt’s revolution.

Mr. Hafez Abu Saada, Head of the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights stated that the media is, in fact, the fourth power in democratic countries, and that the freedom of the media and the press determines the extent of freedom in a political system.

He also called the new administration to respect human rights and ensure these rights for all citizens on an equal footing, particularly with regard to freedom of opinion and expression. Mr Abu Seada stressed on the need for the issuance of the Charter for the media to respect the freedoms of opinion and expression and that would guarantee freedom of satellite channels.

Furthermore, Mr Abu Seada emphasized on the need for the formation of an independent body that would represent all satellite channels by including reputable media personals with the mission of training the personnel in these channels to focus on content free from racism, hatred and religious extremism. The media should show acceptance of others regardless of the ideological difference between the two parties. It should deliberately spread values of tolerance, freedom and refute violence.

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