Chelsea win Group E as Giroud scores 4 goals vs Sevilla    Khartoum's benefits from GERD cannot be achieved without signature of a binding legal agreement, says Sudan's irrigation minister    In Photos: Egypt's Sisi inspects a number of locally-manufactured multi-use vehicle models    Egypt's stock market slightly up, main index falls after Juhayna head arrest    42nd Cairo International Film Festival opens today amid strict precautionary measures    Not so Merry Christmas looms for coronavirus-hit Europe    Asian stocks mixed on Wednesday after Wall Street surged overnight    Armed bank robbers storm another Brazilian town, battle police in streets    UK approves Pfizer-BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine, first in the world    A gloomy Christmas in store for Gaza handicraft workshop    Deadline for reconciliation requests in building violations pushed back till end of 2020: Egypt cabinet    Egypt's capital inflows fell by half in FY2019/20, CBE    Live score: Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain (UEFA Champions League)    Egypt confirms 392 new coronavirus cases, 16 deaths on Tuesday    Champions League a headache for Atletico: Simeone after Bayern draw    Iran's president rejects bill that would boost enrichment    Egyptian expats to print ballots starting Thursday for 2nd stage of parliamentary run-offs    In '76 Days,' a documentary portrait of lockdown in Wuhan    Eni reaches agreements with Egypt, Naturgy to restart operations at gas plant in Damietta    Gana Hena play at Al-Ghad Theatre is a must go    A final battle    Free Devastation    France aiming for broader COVID-19 vaccination campaign in spring: Macron    Egypt reports 370 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths on Monday    Brexit unresolved, as EU, UK say big differences remain    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    US will reduce number of its troop in Iraq, Afghanistan    Asia forms world's biggest trade bloc, a China-backed group excluding U.S    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    1st stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections kicks off on Saturday    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    Legend footballer Lionel Messi says he is forced to stay with Barcelona    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Iraqi conglomerate eyes developing land that housed Mubarak-era ruling party HQ    Legend Messi officially wants to leave Barcelona, hands transfer request    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Al-Sisi's UN claims refuted with 60 journalists behind bars: ANHRI
Civil society bodies move to criticise the President's international message
Published in Daily News Egypt on 30 - 09 - 2015

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's comments on press freedom during his trip to the United Nations General Assembly have continued to cause controversy back home in Egypt, where civil society bodies say the facts on the ground give the lie to his claims.
In an interview on Monday with US television network CNN in New York, Al-Sisi said: "I do not want to exaggerate, but we have unprecedented freedom of expression in Egypt. No one in Egypt can bar anyone working in media or journalism or on TV from expressing their views." He continued that no-one under his presidency has been prosecuted for expressing their views.
Critical human rights bodies and activists have denounced the claims, highlighting the numerous cases of ‘spreading false news' convictions as one example. The government's line is that if journalists are imprisoned, it is for convictions unrelated to their field of work.
"He says that press freedom has increased, but the only thing that has increased is the lying – the statements are now just more blunt," said Gamal Eid, director of the Egypt-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) in comments to Daily News Egypt. "We all know very well the number of papers confiscated and the numbers behind bars."
In an article in Tuesday's edition of leading newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, the ANHRI has provided the names and periods of the detention of 60 individuals who Eid says are the living rejection of Al-Sisi's international messages.
Eid's claims that Al-Sisi is being less than truthful about the reality in Egypt have been backed up by bigger names on the international stage. On Monday, Amnesty International warned the international community not to be "fooled" by Al-Sisi's "veneer of reform and empty promises" at the United Nations.
Referring to the 100 activists and journalists pardoned by Al-Sisi before the General Assembly, Amnesty wrote: "Most of those pardoned by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi should never have been locked up in the first place, because they were peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly."
The rights group called on Egypt to implement meaningful reforms to release the "hundreds detained solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly".
Like incidents of media censoring, precise figures on the number of journalists behind bars in Egypt are not known without some level of doubt and debate.
Unlike ANHRI's figure of 60, the Press Syndicate's Freedoms Committee puts the figure at around 32. A research by the international Committee to Protect Journalists finds that there are 18 journalists in Egyptian jails.
For Eid, both groups' lower figures are based on a wrong approach to the question. "The discrepancies are for numerous reasons. Firstly, because the Press Syndicate has a problem with journalists who are not registered members of the syndicate. We also have names on our list that I do not think the syndicate or the CPJ know about yet."
Eid continued: "The CPJ and syndicate use a kind of a backwards logic. They say that the journalists need to prove they are journalists and that the charges are somehow related to publishing. We say it should not be like this, it is not appropriate because in the climate we are in the government is arresting and charging journalists on trumped-up, empty and unrelated charges. So therefore we treat them all as journalists."
"For example, with Shawkan we were saying for almost a year that he was a journalist before the syndicate decided to recognise him as such," Eid said.
Head of the Freedoms Committee at the Press Syndicate told Daily News Egypt he was not available for comment when contacted.
On Tuesday, the CPJ held a press conference for the three Al Jazeera journalists who were convicted in absentia in the famous ‘Marriot Cell' case. They include Sue Turton, Dominic Kane, and Peter Greste who was deported before the final verdict in the case. Al-Sisi's pre-UN pardons for Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed leave these three journalists still convicted.
The journalists are now appealing to have their convictions for "tarnishing Egypt's image" and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood lifted. They say that the convictions mean they cannot travel to certain countries that could extradite them to Egypt, making their work difficult. Greste told the conference he still does not feel free, despite having left Egypt and Turton says she gave up her correspondent job because she could not travel freely.
"Quashing the convictions of these journalists will not address the plight of journalists in jail or under threat of imprisonment in Egypt. But Al-Sisi's pardons and his comments… suggest an admission of injustice," said the CPJ. "The pardons are a first step on a long road of reform before the president can be taken seriously on his promise at the United Nations General Assembly Monday to further the realisation of Egypt's aspirations for freedom, dignity, and social justice."

Clic here to read the story from its source.