CAIRO: Journalists ended yesterday a hunger strike they began on Saturday evening of last week but will continue the sit-in at the Journalists’ Syndicate to protest the Syndicate’s refusal to grant them membership.
The decision to call off the hunger strike was reached following a decision to hold a meeting next Sunday between a delegation of El-Badeel journalists and Abdel Mohsen Salama, the head of the committee which signs off on membership applications.
“We have decided to end the hunger strike and the media campaign against the membership committee, until we see the outcome of the meeting, El-Badeel journalist Khalil Abu Shady, who had been on hunger strike since Saturday, told Daily News Egypt.
“The sit-in will continue, however.
Al-Dostour and El-Badeel – many of whose journalists were denied Syndicate membership – had launched an intensive media campaign against the membership committee, in which they questioned the qualifications of its three members.
Highly-critical testimonies of journalists questioned by the committee also appeared, in which the political nature of some of the questions asked was underlined.
Journalists allege that the decision to award Syndicate membership is political, and point to the fact that no journalists employed by government-controlled Al-Ahram are denied Syndicate membership.
They also say that connections are involved in the granting of Syndicate membership, and criticize the Syndicate’s failure to abide by the conditions for Syndicate membership described in the law.
Abu Shady says that journalists were initially offered the right to appeal the decision to deny them membership within 15 days, and that the results of this appeal would be announced over a month of their being received.
“We rejected this because we insist that the results be produced within a month. This and other issues will be discussed during Sunday’s meeting.
Journalists will also hold a protest outside the Syndicate on Saturday at 5 pm demonstrating their grievances about the problems surrounding Syndicate membership.
The protest will be followed by a general meeting chaired by veteran journalists, during which these issues will be discussed.