A press conference at the press syndicate Monday called for the freeing of detained journalists and stopping ‘violations against journalists’.
Scores of journalists and relatives of those who have been detained attended the conference. A recent example of a detained journalist incluses that of Youssef Shaaban, who was ordered back to prison by court on 11 May.
Rapporteur of freedoms in the press syndicate Khaled El-Balshy opened with a speech saying: “The scale of violations against journalists expands.”
El-Balshy tackled the issue of the “huge amount” of reports from journalists on violations against them, “but none of them was investigated and now our colleagues are being referred to criminal court.”
Ranwa Youssef, wife of the detained Shaaban, who awaits a verdict on 31 May, was present at the conference. She pressed that her husband and his fellow defendants in the case were released in the case in 2013, under Muslim Brotherhood rule, as they were accused of trying to topple the regime, “but now after the fall of this regime and all the current regime is talking about now is fighting the terrorism of the previous regime … for me there is no charge.”
“Youssef [Shaaban] sent this message from prison and asked me to deliver it to you: the goal of the regime and their hope is for us not to have hope or goal, so our goal should be having hope and dream,” Youssef said.
Another hot topic was the referral of journalists to courts over publishing cases.
“The Prosecutor General says that non-unionist journalists should not be allowed to work he shouldn’t be interfering in press issues, everyone who publishes is protected by law,” El-Balshy said, referring to a statement from Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat. The latter had referred Al-Bayan newspaper’s editor in chief Ibrahim Aref, the CEO of the newspaper and a reporter to criminal court hours before the conference.
“All the procedures tell that there is violation to law,” El-Balshy talked of what happened with Aref and his colleagues. “For your knowledge Ibrahim Aref apologized for the news and published this apology.”
El-Balshy also pressed the case of photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, better known as Shawkan, who has now behind bars for more than 650 for “just holding a camera.”