President Mohamed Morsi’s legal affairs team will withdraw all complaints filed against journalists, said presidential spokesperson Ehab Fahmy on Wednesday evening.
Abeer Saady, the vice-chair for the Press Syndicate welcomed the decision, but questioned whether or not it was one that would carry on to the Morsi administration’s future behaviour. She pointed to the president’s previous decision to put an end to preventive detention for journalists, saying that increasing freedom of the press did not follow it.
Saady also highlighted that it wasn’t only the president filing politically-motivated complaints against journalists. “Political parties, lawyers who sympathise with the president, and religious groups have also submitted complaints,” she said.
The high-ranking syndicate member also mentioned that the government needed to do more to ensure the protection of journalists, saying Al-Husseini Abou Deif, a journalist who was killed at the presidential palace in December, had not once been mentioned by Morsi, and said that other journalists are still harassed and subject to injury.
“We need this president to give instructions to the prosecutor general, and all prosecutors to take all complaints from injured journalists seriously,” she added.
Saady asserted that amendments to the constitution needed to be considered to ensure freedom of expression, saying it was unacceptable that journalists can still be imprisoned under certain laws.