Egypt rights group condemns newspaper confiscation
Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights blasts confiscation of independent weekly Al-Shaab's Wednesday edition over article critical of Egypt's intelligence apparatus
Ahram Online, Wednesday 22 Aug 2012
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) has released a statement condemning the confiscation by authorities of the Wednesday edition of weekly newspaper Al-Shaab, which is affiliated with Egypt's Islamist-leaning Labour Party.
The confiscation, according to the EOHR, had been a response to an article written by the newspaper's chief editor, Magdi Hussein, in which the latter criticised the head of Egypt's intelligence apparatus and urged him to abandon Mubarak-era policies.
In the article, Hussein accused the intelligence apparatus of interfering in political life and promoting military rule by supporting the military directly or by supporting political parties and individuals affiliated with the military.
The Wednesday edition of the paper was printed, but prevented from being distributed. While the paper's publishers attributed this to "technical reasons," newspaper officials accused Egypt's intelligence apparatus of being behind the confiscation.
"The continuation of the practice of confiscation [of newspapers] and terrorising the press will ruin the means of assessing freedom of expression and speech [in Egypt]," the EOHR declared in a statement, going on to point out that Egypt's March 2011 constitutional declaration explicitly prohibited the censorship of newspapers.
The EOHR also called on the presidency to intervene in the issue and launch investigations aimed at ending such "violations."
"What was imposed on Al-Shaab newspaper is nothing less than a violation of freedom of the press," EOHR head Hafez Abu Seada stated.
Abu-Seada went on to say that such violations had begun following the inauguration of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in late June.
A number of newspaper editions have recently been confiscated for allegedly inciting violence against the presidency. Other figures currently charged with using their respective publications to incite the public against Egypt's new president are Al-Dostour Editor-in-Chief Abdel-Halim Qandil and Al-Fagr Editor-in-Chief Adel Hamouda.