Egyptian Journalists Demonstrate For Freedom of Press
Sunday, May 21,2006 00:00
By Sara Hemdan, Ikhwanweb

Tens of the Egyptian journalists demonstrated before the Shura Council and the People’s Assembly to demand a new legislation that abolishes imprisonment penalty concerning the publishing cases and a new regulation for wages corresponds to the ambitions of the journalists and ensures a good standard of living.

The head of the Press Syndicate - Galal `Arif, the Syndicate’s Board, and a crowd of journalists and writers, including Kamil Zuhairi - the head of the heads of the Syndicate, and Salah Ad-Deen Hafizh - the Secretary General of the Arab Journalists Union participated in the demonstration.

Also, some representatives of regional organizations concerned with the freedom of speech joined the demonstrations, in addition to six journalists who are members in the People’s Assembly and, at the same time, editors-in-chief.

The head of the Press Syndicate, Galal `Arif, asserted that the issue of abolishing the imprisonment penalty concerning the publishing cases does not concern the journalists alone, but rather all the Egyptians who express their opinions in the mass media.

On the other hand, `Arif rejected the claim that abolishing the imprisonment penalty will encourage the journalists to blemish innocent citizens. He clarified that such claims are completely falsehood; only the yellow journalism aims to blemish innocent citizens with the ultimate goal of destroying the customs and the traditions of the society."

The head of the Press Syndicate called the civil community organizations to continue their support to the journalists to pass a law that aims at abolishing the imprisonment penalty concerning the publishing cases, as it is one the priorities of the human rights in the country.

On his part, Salah Ad-Deen Hafizh, the Secretary General of the Arab Journalists Union, demanded the government to pass a law to prove its well intentions of establishing a reformation. He further asserted that the necessity of activating the participation of the civil organizations in the support of the journalists’ campaign, referring to the fact that it is one of their most important rights and that it is necessary for them to carry out their work with no restrains or fear.

He also indicated that all circumstances are now ready to allow the various powers in Egypt to play a crucial role in affecting the decision makers in order to get their full rights. In addition, he illustrated that the crisis is great; as it includes many laws that restrain the freedom and all powers should unite to abolish them.

It is worth mentioning that the Egyptian President Husni Mubarak promised to abolish the imprisonment penalty concerning the publishing cases more than a year ago. This promise, however, was not accomplished, and that led to the lack of trust between the journalists and the government concerning many issues.