The European Union (EU) is the latest group to join the growing opposition to Egyptian authorities’ widespread crackdown on the media and other voices of dissent.
In a statement released Tuesday, the EU’s delegation to Egypt expressed its concern about the government’s “growing tendency” to place “limitations put on the media,” citing the recent charges against 20 Al Jazeera staffers as an example.
“Indiscriminate detentions and charges hamper seriously the fundamental freedom of expression and freedom of the media, which must be safeguarded at all times as a vital element of democracy, in particular in view of the upcoming elections in Egypt,” read the statement.
The statement comes days after 20 Al Jazeera employees were charged with a litany of crimes which include belonging to a terrorist organisation; calling for disruption of the law and preventing state institutions from conducting their affairs; broadcasting false news to support a terrorist group; and harming the national interest of the country.
The EU joins the United State, the United Nations, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Amnesty International, and the International Press Institutes in its condemnation of the recent rash of arrests and violence targeted against journalists working in Egypt.
According to a December 2013 report by the CPJ, Egypt ranks among the top ten jailors of journalists in the world. A separate CPJ report from December listed Egypt as the third deadliest nation for journalists after Syria and Iraq.