By Ehab El-Shimi
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) sent a letter to interim President Adly Mansour on Monday, calling for the release of all detained journalists.
CPJ condemned the “ongoing imprisonment” of seven journalists currently in Egypt.
The letter stressed the importance of their “immediate” release, as their imprisonment stands in the way of press freedom. “All Egyptian citizens should be guaranteed the right to freedom of speech and freedom of information.”
One of the journalists mentioned in the letter is Canadian-Egyptian citizen Mohamed Fahmy, who is currently being held in Cairo’s maximum security Tora Prison. CPJ cited Fahmy as saying, “In Egypt right now, you are guilty until proven otherwise.”
The letter also highlighted that five journalists have been killed, 45 journalists have been assaulted and up to 44 journalists have been detained since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. With security forces given “free rein”, anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood has been targeted and subsequently dealt with.
The letter added that these factors have led to anti-press violations in Egypt, in the latest of which four journalists affiliated with Al-Jazeera English were accused of illegally broadcasting news and conducting illegal meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Monday, the Freedoms Committee and the Washington-based National Press Club issued a statement signed by editors and correspondents from over 30 international media organisations, who voiced their concern about the journalists jailed in Egypt, and demanded that journalists should be guaranteed free speech and expression.