Mostafa Diab, an Ismailia-based journalist, was arrested on Sunday afternoon while covering a student protest at Suez Canal University. According to the newspaper for which he works, Al-Madar, he was detained for filming demonstrations without a permit.
Al-Madar released a statement calling for Diab’s “immediate release,” also demanding that the Press Syndicate intervene to facilitate the young reporter’s release and called Diab’s detention a “waste and an affront to the freedom of the press.”
The Union of Journalists and Correspondents in Sinai also released a statement following Diab’s arrest, calling it “a new attempt to attack independent press” and a “serious development in a series of restrictions on the freedom of expression.” The statement strongly condemned the Ismailia Security Directorate for arresting Diab “in the framework of intimidating journalists and trying to discourage them from performing their duties.”
Last Thursday Syrian photojournalist Mohamed Hayyan was also arrested for not having proper permits. The Ministry of Interior added that Hayyan had no visa or documents proving he worked for a media organisation and was therefore arrested and referred to prosecution for investigation.
The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned Hayyan’s arrest, saying that he had finished the procedure of renewing his visa and was expected to receive it on the day of his arrest, adding that the interior ministry referred him to prosecution instead of attempting to confirm this.
Last week the secretary for the Press Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee, Mohamed Abdel Qouddous, released a statement saying that the committee “criticises persistent repression against media professionals.” The committee also stressed its rejection of “repressive practices.”
Some media outlets have suffered crackdowns following former President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. On 3 July, Islamist channels supporting the Muslim Brotherhood were abruptly shut down and Qatari Al Jazeera’s offices were raided. Two Al Jazeera journalists remain in detention pending investigations.