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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Egypt's journalists' syndicate to protest press clampdown

Ahram Online , Wednesday 10 Jun 2015
File Photo: Journalists and Photographers' demonstration in front of Journalists Syndicate to protest against the arrest of fellow photographers, Saturday 7 Dec 2013 (Photo: Hala Safwat)

Egypt’s journalists' syndicate has called for a day of protest on Wednesday to call for boosting press freedoms, job protection and better pay.

The union's freedoms committee said the protest – which will involve a partial strike and sit-in – is aimed at protesting the jailing of journalists and shrinking press freedoms as well as demanding higher salaries and syndicate protection from arbitrary sacking by newspapers.

Egypt was ranked among the ten worst jailers of journalists in the world in December of last year. The Committee to Protect Journalists said in its annual census that at least 12 journalists, including three Al-Jazeera journalists, are detained in Egypt.

Australian Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste has since been released and deported, while the trial of his colleagues continues.

A delegation of journalists formed by the committee is due to put forward reports to the country's public prosecutor on Wednesday against what it described as violations detained journalists are subjected to in prisons.

In a letter from prison published by Amnesty International in April, a 27-year-old Egyptian photojournalist who spent more than 650 days in detention without charge said his prison cell was like a "cemetery" and that he left his "dignity" at its gates.

Mahmoud Abou-Zeid, known as Shawkan, was arrested in August 2013 while taking photos of the violent dispersal by security forces of a sit-in by supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

Wednesday’s protest is planned to include a half-hour strike by journalists in the morning. A sit-in from 2pm to 5pm will be staged at the syndicate's headquarters in downtown Cairo to voice the key demands of releasing journalists detained over freedom of expression cases and calling for legislation granting basic job rights.

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