The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said, today, that the state of freedom of opinion and expression of Egypt in 2009 is moving from bad to worse, towards more restrictions, denouncements and trials. A journalist , a writer or a blogger is no longer far from prosecution and be subjected to imprisonment or fines due to practicing their legitimate right to freedom of opinion and expression.
This comes in the annual report of the state of freedom of opinion and expression for 2009 prepared by the Arabic Network to be announced on Thursday, May 6th, 2010, at a press conference held at the Arabic Network’s.
The report states that although the Egyptian constitution contains formal texts in line with international conventions asserting fundamental rights, including freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of the press and media, but reality is at complete odds. Some laws, especially the emergency law and the penal code have become obstacles to these rights and a means to punish enjoyers. The reluctance of the public prosecutor in investigating reported violations against journalists and bloggers has significantly worsened the situation of freedom of expression.
The annual report, prepared by the Arabic Network, pointed that the journalist, blogger or writer does not only endure authority of security and unjust laws, but religious authority as well . Religious institutes have proved to be as hostile to freedom of opinion and expression. The religious authority has, over the years, gained accumulated moral and legal influence strong enough to monitor all kinds of intellectual creativity. Regarding the relation between political and religious authorities, and their interchanging of censorship roles, it is extremely hard for any creator to excel in such an oppressive climate.
The report monitors forms of harassment and various violations against journalists, bloggers and creators in general as of 2009, such as prison sentences, administrative detention under emergency law, travel bans, financial penalties, refusal to register journalists at the syndicate as well as some court rulings on issues of conscience.
The report covers the main stops affecting the freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt as of 2009. The Arabic network unfortunately announces that the prosecution service in Egypt has joined the list of official bodies and institutions that contribute to the inhibiting the right to freedom of opinion and expression by its negative role in disregarding communiqués of bloggers and opinion makers whereas prosecution would respond promptly to communiqués from officials against opinion owners.
The report also contains some figures and information on the situation of freedom of opinion and expression. Those indicative figures were reached by the legal aid unit for freedom of opinion and expression at the Arabic network, which prepared the report. Examples are: the number of lawsuits against journalists and bloggers and the number of licensed newspapers and magazines, licensed in Egypt.
The report will be announced on Thursday, May 6th , 2010, noon time at the Arabic Network’s where Arabic and English copies will be handed out. The report is also available on ANHRI’s website,
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