Egyptian military hates freedom
Cairo – May 14th, 2012
ANHRI denounces the ongoing systematic crackdown of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and Security Services on the freedoms and rights acquired by the Egyptian people after the revolution. ANHRI considers the raid on the office of al-Alam news channel in Cairo on May 13th as a new episode in the series of stifling press freedom and clamping down on media work in Egypt for exposing the violations committed in the transitional phase. The Egyptian military hates freedom.
Three satellite channels experienced a crackdown; al-Alam; al-Hekma, and al-Ummah.
On May 13th morning, police forces of Boulak Aboul-Ela Investigation department, accompanied by forces of the Investigations of Complilations department went to al-Alam office in Cairo and seized all of the broadcast equipment, tapes, records, CDs, and hard disk on the pretext of lack of license.
Tamer Abou-Gamei, al-Alam’s Public Relations Director, was been detained. ANHRI’s lawyers headed to the public prosecution, and the Attorney-General Agent informed them that Abou-Gamea is being interrogated as a witness only. He was released later.
The prosecution issued a warrant to summon Ahmed al-Sweify, head of the Channel Office. In a statement published on the channel’s website, al-Sweify announced that he intendes to go on a hunger strike. He explaiend that he had sent dozens of formal requests to get a permit for his channel and only was met by the intransigence and prevarication of the specialized bodies.
Al-Alam is an Iranian channel broadcasting in Arabic and was based in Egypt for several years. After the raid, Nile Sat administration board cut off the broadcast of the channel.
The attack on al-Alam channel is part of an organized campaign against media in Egypt during the transational phase. An evidence of that is the latest attempt to shut down the Salafist channel of al-Hekma under the pretext of inciting the public against SCAF. Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, the disqualified presidential candidate, was prevented from appearing on both state and privately-owned channels. The military police forces attacked al-Ummah Salafist channel in al-Abassiya and broke their equipment and studios for criticizing the Presidential Elections Committee.
“Egypt’s military hates freedom of the press because it exposes their violations throughout the transitional phase and the fact that they are much worse than Mubarak who never dared to commit such violations all at one time,” said ANHRI.
ANHRI condemns that justifications that claim that these channels do not have licenses. Media work should be by notification and not by prior licensing. Moreover, ANHRI considers the elected parliament and the parliamentary majority responsible for this decline in media press freedoms because they have not amended media laws to codify freedom of the press as acquired after the revolution.
In any case of transgression during the media work, it is the Journalists Syndicate that should be responsible for monitoring and holding transgressors accountable rather than the security apparatus that is used according to the authorities’ whims.
ANHRI calls on the Journalists Syndicate and the elected parliament to bear responsibility for the freedom of press and freedom of opinion and expression. “Media laws should have been amended to prevent the ongoing Carrot and Stick policy and the need to apply for a license that is always met by the intransigence of the official authorities as a means to put pressure on the channels that cross the red lines,” said Anhri.
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