El-Sisi praises Egyptian media's 'understanding', defends protest law

Ahram Online, Saturday 1 Nov 2014

Egyptian president said the controversial protest law is derived from western laws

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi waits for a meeting with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. (Photo AP)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi praised local media for showing "understanding" while covering domestic events, and in a separate statement praised the controversial law that restricts protests.

"Most of the Egyptian media has become more understanding and become more aware of the responsibility placed on them," El-Sisi said in an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) published on Saturday, adding that he hopes this understanding grows.

The chief editors of major Egyptian public and private newspapers declared last week their confidence in the country's institutions.

In the wake of two militant attacks in Sinai that a day earlier had claimed the lives of 31 soldiers, the editors, said they would stop publishing "statements undermining state institutions."

In a Saturday meeting with Gianni Pittella, chairman of the European Parliment's Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, El-Sisi said the protest law is "derived from western laws."

He added that western countries should familiarise themselves with the law instead of only listening to its critics.

The president said that protesting is a right for all citizens who want to express their opinions in a peaceful manner within the confines of the law.  

El-Sisi added that this "phenomenon" of protests shouldn't be left to turn into violence, disrupt the country's march forward and sabotage public and private property.

The protest law, issued in November 2013, has been criticised by a number of human rights organisations as well as by Egyptian opposition activists. Under the law, organisers of protests must obtain the prior authorisation of the police before holding their demonstration. 

Hundreds of Islamists and secular protesters have been imprisoned for violating the provisions of the law.

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