14 January 2013

Egypt: Shutting Down Media-Outlets and Preventing Individuals From Expressing Their Opinions, Shouldn't Be a Penalty Imposed By Judiciary

press release

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), today, denounces the sentence of Shutting down of "El-Hafez" channel for a month and preventing the anchor "Atef Abdulrashid" and the preacher "Abduallah Bader" from appearing on another TV channel for the same period.

The investment circuit in the administrative court, sentenced, in the hearing of Saturday January 12, 2013, to shut down "El-Hafez" channel, Salafist, for 30 days and preventing "Atef Abdulrashid" an anchor and the Salafist preacher "Abdulah Badr" from appearing at any other TV channel during the said period. The court had reviewed four lawsuits against the minister of information, president of the general authority for investment and free zones and the chairman of the board of directors of the Egyptian Satellites Company, in which the claimant demanded of the rescinding of the negative decision of not adopting the legal procedures, as in accordance with the claimant, the officials should have adopted it against "El-Hafez" channel. As it has broad-casted an episode of "El-Mizan" program which is presented by "Abdulrashid", in which he hosted the preacher "Abdulah Badr"who multiply insulted the actress "Ilham Sahin" (who brought one of the said clamints).

It is worthy to be mentioned that the Misdemeanor Court of Zawia-El-Hamrra, on December 17, 2012, punished Abdulah Badr by a year in prison and a bail of 5 thousands EGP, in addition to fining him of 20.000 EGP after he was convicted of slandering Ilham Sahin on the background of what he said in the same episode.

ANHRI said that "a long with our refusal that any of party uses a media-outlet as a platform to commit slander against others but we at the same time refuse the use of the judiciary as a tool to shutdown any media-outlet or prevent anyone from his right to peacefully express his opinion peacefully through any mean of publicity which include the satellite channels. A long with our full respect to the judges who reviewed the said cases, they should have noted that the parties to the conflict have no authority to shutdown any TV channel or prevent anyone from appear at any of its monitors by virtue of an administrative decision, which make the case has no legal base".

ANHRI said that "We stand in solidarity with "Ilham Sahin", actress, in seeking reparation from the damage on her by the sever insult of Badr. We believe that this insult is a part of the campaign established by who are affiliate to the political islam against the freedom of art and creativity, but we believe that the judiciary bring the justice on her in the right frame against "Badr", who was convicted of slander and she could seek a civil compensation on the basis of the criminal sentence in the frame of limiting the dispute on a person without expanding to include the outlet".

ANHRI said that "the relevant authorities should pay attention to establishing clear rules to guarantee the freedom of the press and publication a long with protecting the citizens from slander. Among these rules, the personal responsibility to the opinion-maker, in case of the crime or slander was proved in which the penalty shouldn't include to punish the opinion-maker by banning from his right to freedom of expression a long with the necessity to review the articles of the relevant law as it shouldn't include the imprisonment penalty in these cases and should be referred to civil cases to judge with the appropriate sentence, in accordance with the claimant and the judge in relation with the circumstances. Finally, no outlet should be shut by administrative decision or sentence".

ANHRI calls on the review the sentence of the judiciary court in accordance with the available legal methods and in accordance with the required balance between the freedom of media and freedom of citizens.

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