Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (Cairo)

5 December 2012

Egypt: Nation's Media Protests 'Tyranny'

press release

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights is deeply concerned about the situation of the press in the new constitution and that, according to Article forty-eighth of the final draft of the Constitution. As it included aggression on the power of the press and restrict its freedom, especially after the Constituent Assembly insisted not to cancel freedom-deprivation penalties.

The journalists' syndicate has organized a protest against the draft constitution drawn up by the Constituent Assembly, followed by a peaceful march from the headquarters of the syndicate to Tahrir Square through the street Talaat Harb in Downtown demanding freedom and independence of the press. The protesters rejected the new draft constitution, which provides that no imprisonment is given to journalists in publishing cases. On Tuesday, the 4th of December 2012, about 11 newspaper, private and public and independent, daily and weekly, were not issued, also a number of satellite channels decided stopping broadcasting on Wednesday. The channels include CBC, Al Nahar, Al Hayat, On TV and Dream.

Thus EOHR stresses that Article 48 of the draft constitution represents an attack on press freedom by insisting on not cancel penalties of liberty-deprivation in publishing cases. Therefore there is a desire of the ruling regime in maintaining the penalties of terrorizing journalists and prevent others' freedom of expression.

Mr. Hafez Abu Saada, head of EOHR, stated that the previous constitutions since the Constitution of 1923 guaranteed freedom of the press. The July Revolution of 1952 added to the earnings of the journalists, but the current draft constitution has canceled what journalists got during the era of President Hosni Mubarak. He said that the journalistic articles in the constitutional draft are "disastrous". Freedom of press is of one of the pillars of intended democracy.

EOHR calls upon president Morsi to reconsider the constitutional draft and form a new constituent assembly including representatives of all the Egyptian groups and minorities. The new constitution should be drafted by all the Egyptian political powers, taking the international human rights standards as references.

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