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Morsi's office surprised at claims it restricts media access

Egyptian president's office says it had not renewed permits of journalists who had not 'complied with rules'

Ahram Online, Monday 29 Apr 2013
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President Morsi (Photo: Ahram Online )
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The office of Egypt’s president has expressed its "surprise" at recent accusations that it restricts the work of journalists issued with permits in order to cover its work.

The office said in an official statement on Monday that "[this] contradicts the rules [the office] follows while working with journalists, whom the presidency respects and is keen on communicating with."   

Head of Egypt's journalists syndicate Diaa Rashwan recently criticised the presidency, saying that it restricts the work of journalists.   

Rashwan said in an interview with privately-owned Al-Hurra channel on Saturday that the presidency "withholds information" and that the president’s media office "has refused to approve several significant newspaper representatives, saying that they are 'troublesome.' "

The presidency's statement said that "some journalists, who did not comply with the rules governing the presidency's work, were advised several times to refrain from breaking the rules."

"However, they did not respond to the advice and the presidency was unfortunately forced not to renew their permits."   

The presidency stated that 54 local and 177 Arab and international journalists are registered at the presidency's office and communicate with it daily to cover its work.

Rashwan also said that the presidency allegedly puts obstacles in the way of journalists at the president’s office, invites media to press conferences without prior disclosure of their purpose, and does not answer reporters' questions adequately.

He claimed that this is because the Muslim Brotherhood, from which President Mohamed Morsi hails, considers information "a security risk."

The presidency "emphasised" in its statement its "respect for journalism and the role journalists play."

"The presidency welcomes any comments or suggestions to support [journalism] and ensure its success," it added.    

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