Journalists detained, barred from polling stations: Syndicate

Ahram Online, Tuesday 27 May 2014

Media personnel arrested, detained and prevented from reporting at polling stations in several governorates, says Journalists' Syndicate

(Photo: Zienab Mohamed)

Egypt's Journalists' Syndicate says it has identified several electoral violations on the second and last polling day of Egypt's presidential election.

The syndicate's operations room said in a statement that several journalists have been detained, arrested or obstructed from reporting at polling stations in several governorates.

In Giza's Warraq district, Emad Abu Gad, a journalist of the Veto news website, was arrested and ordered to be detained for four days pending investigations on allegations of storming a women's polling station, the syndicate's operations room coordinator Hanan Fikry said.

In Alexandria, another journalist from the independent daily Al-Dostour was briefly detained while covering a local polling station. He was later released after the syndicate's provincial office in the Mediterranean city intervened.

Another journalist from the independent daily Al-Shorouk was barred from reporting at a Daqahliya station "because of his beard."

Some three other journalists were banned from photographing in the Sinai Peninsula and the Nile Delta's Damietta governorate, the statement said

"The syndicate affirms its rejection of all forms of violations against fellow colleagues performing their press work and calls on officials to facilitate the electoral process and comply with the announced rules … regulating press coverage."

Presidential frontrunner Abdel-Fattah Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is expected to win the two-day vote in a landslide

El-Sisi, who quit his post as army chief and defence minister to run for president, has received cult-like adulation after he led the ouster of divisive president Mohamed Morsi last July and cracked down on his Muslim Brotherhood movement.

El-Sisi's only challenger is Hamdeen Sabahi, a leftist politician and longtime dissident who finished third in the 2012 election that Morsi won

On the first day of voting, the syndicate reported as many as 19 similar violations, most of which were identified in the last hours of the polling day, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.

Seeking to boost an apparently low turnout, the interim government declared Tuesday a public holiday and extended voting hours until 10 pm, an hour later than planned.


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