London, November 16, 2017
The Arab Media Freedom Monitor “Ikshef” followed the remarks made by Mr. Makram Mohamed Ahmed, chairman of the Supreme Council of Media Organization in Egypt, on Wednesday, in which he stated that there is no journalist detained because of his work or ideas and beliefs, and that most blocked sites belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ikshef is saddened by the release of these untrue statements by a person who is supposed to defend the freedom of the press and stand against the imprisonment of journalists and the closure of newspapers, sites and TV channels, but he chose the wrong side, which is to justify the authority’s repression of the press freedom and the imprisonment of journalists and blocking websites.
According to our documented data, which we publish through our monthly and periodic reports, we confirm to the President of the Supreme Council of Media in Egypt that there are 94 journalists, correspondents and photographers currently detained (according to the October report) either by decisions of pre-trial detention or prison sentences issued by civil or military courts. There are many among those who were held in custody exceeded the legal limits of the pre-trial detention (more than two years), such as Hisham Jaafar, Hassan Al-Qabbani, Mahmoud Shawkan, Muataz Shahin and Muhammad Suwaydan.
Base on its information about the reality of the imprisoned journalists, Ikshef stresses that not all of them belong to Muslim Brotherhood as claimed by Ahmed. It is also known that Hisham Jaafar, Mahmoud Shukan, Ismail Al-Iskandarani, Majdi Hussein, Abeer Al-Safti and Asmaa Zaidan are not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, the majority of the blocked sites (about 400 sites) are not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, but many of them have stances that are opposed to the Brotherhood, such as Al-Bedaiah, El-Badil, Masr Al-Arabia, Al-Mesryoon, Yanairgate and MadaMasr websites. They are sites that were working in a formal way and includes large numbers of journalists (members of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate). Also, the blocking included the sites of human rights organizations among which are Ikshef, Journalists Against Torture and Arab Network for Human Rights Information, and international organizations such as Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International etc. If Mr. Makram Mohammed Ahmed admits that most of the blocked sites belong to the Brotherhood, (according to his opinion), why didn’t he move to unblock the few remaining non-Muslim Brotherhood websites?!
On this occasion, Ikshef reiterates its call on the Egyptian authorities to release all imprisoned journalists, especially those held in pre-trial detention in respect of the provisions of the Egyptian Constitution, which completely prohibits the imprisonment of journalists in cases related to their work and thought. Ikshef also demands unblocking of about 400 websites in respect also of the Egyptian constitution, which prohibits the Confiscation and closure of media outlets. Ikshef demands that Mr. Makram Mohammed Ahmed and other officials of the media councils, bodies and unions comply with the laws establishing these bodies, which are required to defend the freedom of the press and journalists.
London, November 16, 2017