British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “very concerned” about “increasing restrictions placed upon journalists and the media in Egypt.”
In a press release issued on Thursday, Hague highlighted the indictment of a group of Al-Jazeera journalists, two of whom are British.
“We have raised our concerns about these cases and freedom of expression at a senior level with the Egyptian government in recent days,” he added, saying that those concerns would be discussed with other European foreign ministers at the European Foreign Affairs Council on Monday.
“The UK believes a free and robust press is the bedrock of democracy,” added Hague in the release. “I urge the Egyptian interim government to demonstrate its commitment to an inclusive political process which allows for full freedom of expression and for journalists to operate without fear of persecution.”
The United Kingdom is not the first country to express concerns about Egypt’s ongoing media crackdown.
On Wednesday German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier told his counterpart Nabil Fahmy that his government saw “developments that cause…concern,” as it related to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
US Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday said the “targeting of Egyptian and foreign journalists and academics simply for expressing their views” is of “deep concern to the [US] administration.”
“Egypt’s transition can only move forward if all Egyptians are able to express themselves freely, without fear of intimidation or violence,” added Carney, who said that the US government had made these concerns clear to Egyptian authorities.
Twenty defendants, including four foreigners, are indicted in a case and face a number of charges including broadcasting false news to support a terrorist group, harming the national interest of the country, disturbing public security, instilling fear among the people, causing damage to the public interest, and possession of communication, filming, broadcast, and video transmission equipment without a permit from the concerned authorities.
A date for the beginning of the trial has not yet been set.