Egypt chief editors pledge support for state institutions

Ahram Online , Sunday 26 Oct 2014

Chief editors of several Egyptian daily newspapers say they have total confidence in the performance of state institutions and will refrain from publishing statements undermining them

El-Sisi meeting with the editors-in-chief
File Photo: Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi meeting with the editors-in-chief of Egypt's most prominent newspapers, July 5, 2014 (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Chief editors of both state and private daily newspapers said they would stop publishing "statements undermining state institutions" in the wake of major deadly attacks on security forces in Sinai.
"We assert our commitment to freedom of speech … but we reiterate our rejection of attempts to doubt state institutions or insult the army or police or judiciary in a way that would reflect negatively on these institutions' performance," said the heads of 17 state and privately-owned dailies in a statement Sunday.
Among the papers that issued the statement are the state-run Al-Ahram as well as private newspapers Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Shorouk.
The statement, published on the website of liberal Al-Wafd Party's newspaper Al-Wafd, where the editors met, also said they would no longer publish statements "supportive of terrorism or that undermine state institutions directly or indirectly."
Editors asserted their "total confidence" in state institutions and their "support" for all procedures the government undertakes "to confront terrorism."
Chief editors of state-owned papers are appointed by the High Council of the Press, while those of privately-owned papers are appointed by newspaper owners. 
At least 30 security forces were killed in two attacks in North Sinai Friday, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency in the area already stricken with a jihadist insurgency.
A three-day period of national mourning was announced on several state-owned and private TV channels, with presenters devoting the majority of air time to the incident. 
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has referred to the media in previous speeches and meetings, emphasising several times it should play an essential role against any attempts at undermining state policies. 
In their statement, however, the chief editors also called on authorities to facilitate journalists' work on such incidents, protect them, and make available related information. 
Meanwhile, a 24-member committee tasked with drafting new press and media regulations will begin its work, expected to take two months, Wednesday.
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