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Tunisia's press union expresses solidarity with Egypt's journalists

Ahram Online , Thursday 5 May 2016
Journalists hold a banner reading in Arabic: "I am a journalist not a terrorist" during a demonstration outside the Journalist Syndicate headquarters in Cairo on May 4, 2016 calling for the sacking of the interior minister two days after an unprecedented police raid to arrest two reporters (AFP)
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Tunisia's national press syndicate expressed on Wednesday "absolute support and unconditional solidarity with [Egyptian journalists]," saying it stood by their colleagues "against the unjustified attack they are subjected to" by Egypt's interior ministry.

The Tunisian union criticised in a statement what it described as a "vicious attack" on press freedom in Egypt, days after police stormed the Journalists Syndicate building in Downtown Cairo in an "unprecedented raid."

It added that the administration of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi should be held "legally and ethically responsible" for violations against journalists, citing 'jailing' of writers over publishing issues, "forced disappearances" of others, and raids on homes.

Twenty-seven journalists are currently behind bars in Egypt, according to Egyptian press syndicate head Yehia Kalash.

Several journalist have been sentenced to prison for publishing “false news” and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

Others are facing trial on similar charges or are still in pre-trial detention.

The Tunisian union demanded an "end to such practices as well as lifting restrictions faced by Egyptian journalists," which it said violate press freedom laws and conventions.

On Sunday night, security forces raided the syndicate premises in Cairo and arrested two journalists, sparking public outrage and prompting dozens of journalists to stage a sit-in at the syndicate headquarters.

Around 2,000 journalists rallied for an urgent meeting at the syndicate headquarters on Wednesday to discuss the adoption of measures in response to the raid, chanting slogans supporting press freedom. The syndicate warned that journalists would go on strike if their demands, at the top of which is the sacking of the interior minister, are not met in one week.

The Tunisian union has urged all Tunisian journalists to write about the crisis, symbolically challenging a publishing gag order imposed Tuesday by Egypt's top prosecutor on the arrest of the journalists.


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