'Violations against journalists will not be tolerated,' says head of Egypt's press syndicate

Ahram Online , Thursday 28 Apr 2016

Head of Egypt
Head of Egypt's press syndicate Yehia Kalash (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The head of Egypt's press syndicate Yehia Qalash said on Thursday that violations by police against journalists while covering protests will not be tolerated, calling for those responsible to be held accountable.

In a press conference held at the press syndicate, Qalash said that the “violations” that took place on 25 April were sad and unacceptable, especially as they come at a time when the syndicate is trying to put an end to “media chaos” through legislations to ensure freedom not only for journalists, but for every Egyptian.

Dozens of journalists had organised a stand on the staircase of the syndicate on Tuesday to protest the “police violations” against reporters during their coverage of Monday's protests over the government recent deal acknowledging Saudi sovereignty over the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir.

"It is a shame that the year the syndicate celebrates its diamond jubilee, this happens without accountability or punishment for those responsible for this disgraceful act," the head of the syndicate said.

The press conference was held to hear the testimonies of journalists who were detained by police during their coverage of protests.

The syndicate's board and the journalists headed to the prosecutor's office to file urgent complaints against interior minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar and the head of Cairo's Security Directorate over "police violations."

Until Thursday two journalists remained in detention following their arrest the day before. 

Syndicate secretary Gamal Abdel-Raheem said on Tuesday that the journalists were “assaulted during their work and not allowed to enter the syndicate headquarters,” adding that those inside the syndicate building “were subjected to assault by thugs.”

The syndicate said that dozens of its members were barred from entering the syndicate building, a planned focal point for the protests, even after showing security personnel their press IDs in a "precedent that has not taken place in years," as security forces had sealed off the surrounding streets.

The journalists chanted "write on the walls of the prison cell that the jailing of journalists is a shame."

They also held up banners expressing support for jailed colleagues Mahmoud Abu Zeid Shawkan, Ahmed Sebei, and Ibrahim El-Darawy.

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