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Morsi to withdraw complaints against journalists

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The president also invited citizens to ask him questions on Twitter

Screenshot from President Morsi's tweets

Screenshot from President Morsi’s tweets

President Mohamed Morsi’s legal affairs team will withdraw all complaints filed against journalists, said presidential spokesperson Ehab Fahmy on Wednesday evening.

Fahmy added that the president had decided to withdraw the complaints in an effort to respect the freedom of expression.

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.

In another attempt to interact with the public, presidential spokesperson Ehab Fahmy said that President Morsi would respond to questions submitted to him by users on Twitter on a daily basis between 9 to 9:30 pm.
The president began answering some of the questions submitted to him on Thursday morning.
“There is a group of ministers working day and night to avoid frequent interruptions in the summer months, and the development of the canal is about to start,” tweeted the president in response to someone asking him about power outages and the status of the Suez Canal.
The president also fielded questions dealing with corruption, labour, the International Monetary fund loan, and the Ministry of the Interior.

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