CAIRO: A scheduled Journalists’ Syndicate general assembly, aimed at discussing the performance of the syndicate’s board and head, failed Monday for the second time to reach quorum, forcing the attendees to hold a meeting instead.
The syndicate board said they will set a new date for elections on Wednesday and automatically become an interim board, according to the syndicate’s bylaws.
"Journalists must comply with calls for change following the revolution and must start their fight for their rights from the syndicate to establish new legitimacy in order to achieve the rest of their demands," said Yehia Al-Qalash, syndicate board member.
The emergency general assembly, called upon by 300 members, was supposed to review the syndicate’s performance, conflicts in national newspapers and set a new date for elections.
Journalists said that the syndicate’s general secretary and board member, Hatem Zakaria, was strict in applying bylaws by setting a 12 pm deadline for registration for the general assembly to prevent journalists from coming and achieving quorum.
Many journalists said that they were informed by their institutions and some board members that the general assembly is scheduled for March 4 and that the syndicate board member failed to announce its date one week ahead as per the bylaws.
"When board members knew that the general assembly will discuss their discharge and new elections, they spread misinformation that the general assembly will discuss the revolution," said Karem Yehia, journalist at Al-Ahram.
Under pressure from journalists, the registration period was extended to 3 pm but still failed to gather the minimum required number of 2,000 members in attendance.
A regular general assembly is set for March 4 to discuss the syndicate’s budget.
Journalists refused the intervention of any authority in their affairs and demanded the issuance of a syndicate’s law and the modification of press laws.
Deputy Prime Minister and Supervisor of the Supreme Press Council, Yehia Al-Gamal, said that he will discuss with representatives from the syndicate and newspapers a new salary scheme.
He said that new chief editors will be appointed based on proficiency.
Journalists have been protesting against the leadership of their newspapers demanding their change due to their stances against the revolution.
A number of journalists protested in front of the syndicate demanding changes to the regulations governing membership applications and allowing journalists working in newspapers with foreign licenses to join the syndicate.