5 February 2013

Egypt: Harassing the Media-Professionals in the State-Owned Media Continues ANHRI Denounces Penalizing the Radio Announcer in the Youth and Sport Radio Network Due a Telephone Call From a Citizen On Air

press release

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), denounces today the persistent using of the investigations and administrative penalties as a method to intimidate the staff of the state-owned media or to penalizing them on the back ground of the content of their programs. As the legal affairs in the TV and Radio Production Union, penalized the radio announcer "Riyadah Samer", by deducting her monthly allowances and ban her from presenting a program solely.

During Radio show on the network of youth and sports, Sunday February 3, 2013, she received a phone call from a citizen who started to bitterly criticize Mohamed Morsi, so the control cut the line on the caller then the announcer said "thanks for the caller and we will continue the program". But then she was refereed to the administrative investigations in front of the legal affairs and the decision was issued of penalizing her from the monthly incentives and ban her from presenting programs solely.

It is noteworthy that harassing the media-professionals who don't adopt supporting stances with the authorities or provide criticizing materials became methodology adopted by the ministry of information and in administrating newspapers and channels owned by the state. This fact is in the series of harassments conducted against the journalists and media-professionals since the president came to power. As previously, the decision issued by the chairman of the network to suspend the media-professional "Intesar Ghareeb" from work due to the statements of one of her guests.

The same thing happened with the Media-professional Hala Fahmy, the presenter of "the conscience program" and the media-professional "Bosaina Kamel", the presenter of the news in the Egyptian TV. The administrations of the national newspapers banned several articles to the writers due to criticizing the MB or the current authorities; among them, the writer Ablah El-Rouani, Ahmed Taha El-Naker, Ahmed Mousa and others.

ANHRI said that "penalizing the announcer due to a phone call on air is an arbitrary procedure that beyond any logic and the only thing that could be understood that the administration expected from here to engage in a verbal fight with the caller to defend the president and his policies, which exceeds the her duties and the ethics of the profession. It assures that penalizing her is indirect guidance to her and her colleagues to adopt defensive stances to defend the regime and its policies, in a clear seeking to make the owned state media is the voice of the authorities and a tool to repress the opposition opinion".

ANHRI added that "there is no alternative from changing the pattern of ownership and administration in the state-owned media to guarantee its independence from the authorities and we hope that we could finish preparing the law on the national media council and conducting the community discussion to it as soon as possible. A new law and a new executive regulation should be issued to the TV and Radio Production Union. In addition to stopping turning this huge entity, which is owned by the people, to a voice to the authorities and adopt stances to defend such authorities".

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