In the defence of freedom of opinion and expression, EOHR condemns the decision to withhold “Al- Tahrir”

June 23rd, 2019 by Editor

In the defence of freedom of opinion and expression, EOHR condemns the decision to withhold “Al- Tahrir”

The organization expresses its deepest concern and full condemnation over the decision of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation to withhold the website of Al-Tahrir newspaper, stressing that this decision violates a human right which has been guaranteed by the international covenants, the Constitution, and the law.

The institution confirmed in a statement issued “that on 9-5-2019, we were all surprised by blocking the website of the Al-Tahrir newspaper without any warning or alert from any entity”.
The institution has addressed the competent authorities in the press and in communications, “We already sent a letter to the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, the Journalists Syndicate, The National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and the Minister of Communications to find out the reasons behind the blocking, additionally we also communicated with all institutions and all of them have confirmed that the website did not commit any violation and that we work within the framework of the law, the Constitution and the constants that preserve the stability of the Egyptian state”.
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (Eohr) confirmed that the acts of concealment or confiscation and the intimidation of the press and the media constitute a violation of the international standards of freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the Egyptian Constitution in Article 71, which stipulates that” It is prohibited to censor, confiscate, suspend or shut down Egyptian newspapers and media outlets in any way. Exception may be made for limited censorship in time of war or general mobilization”.
Furthermore, the decision of withholding the website contravenes with the second paragraph of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states: “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 organization asserts that such measures that target the freedom of opinion and expression are no longer feasible in the era of globalization and communications, and have no outcomes other than to harm the human rights file in Egypt.
The organization calls for the end of such violations, which restrict the freedoms and rights guaranteed by international human rights instruments and stipulated in the Constitution and the law as well. Moreover, it stresses on the importance of freedom of opinion and expression in the society as it would not be possible to achieve development in the society without exercising the basic rights and freedoms, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

For his part, Dr. Hafez Abu Saeda, the organization’s president, said that freedom of opinion and expression is a fundamental human right where article 71 of the Egyptian Constitution prohibits the censorship, confiscation, suspension or closure of newspapers and the Egyptian media.
He emphasized on the importance of a comprehensive review of the various laws related to restricting media freedoms and the rights of journalists to obtain and disseminate information, stressing that there is a bunch of laws that restrict the work of journalists, media and hinder the circulation of information, especially since the Penal Code still retains articles that punish journalists with freedom-related penalties, as well as the absence of a law to disclose and circulate information.

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