President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi made it onto the list of “predators of press freedom”, issued by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) last week. The list comes amid continuous crackdowns on Egyptian journalists, and includes 35 presidents, politicians, and religious leaders.
The Paris-based international organisation issued the list on 2 November to mark the international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists. It identified each “predator” according to their favourite attack techniques and targets.
RSF said in its report that Al-Sisi, who was elected in 2014 after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, is a fan of mass roundups and arbitrary detentions. The report added that Al-Sisi’s regime haunts any journalist linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Regarding the attack techniques of Al-Sisi, the report said that journalists are subject to mass trials, particularly when they cover protests. They are often held in prolonged pretrial detentions and receive long jail terms. The report also added that several foreign reporters were deported.
RSF further stated that about six journalists were killed since 2013, with at least 27 detained. It also added that the security apparatuses are the enforcers of Al-Sisi’s attack on journalists.
The report said that the official discourse of the state is “complete denial”, quoting Al-Sisi as saying to CNN in September 2015: “I don’t want to exaggerate, but we enjoy unprecedented media freedom in Egypt.”
Meanwhile, several journalists are on trial and have exceeded a two-year period in remand, which does not comply with Egypt’s penal code.
In June, Egypt slammed statements by the European Union and the United Nations about its crackdown on press freedom and human rights. The Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry called on them to follow the Egyptian media headlines and talk shows before criticising the situation of press freedom in Egypt.