Egypt's press union calls for end to 'violations against journalists and media'

Ahram Online , Tuesday 28 Jun 2016

The syndicate remarks came on the heels of the deportation of prominent Lebanese ONTV host Liliane Daoud and 'assaults' on journalists covering student protests

File Photo: Journalists carry Yehia Kalash, head of the Egyptian press syndicate, during a protest against restrictions on the press and to demand the release of detained journalists, in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt May 4, 2016 (Reuters)

Egypt's press syndicate has called for an end to violations against journalists and media workers following recent violations against reporters and the arrest and Monday's deportation of a popular Lebanese talk show host.

In a statement released Tuesday, the journalists syndicate's Freedom Committee condemned  "security violations" against freedoms, namely freedom of press.

The union deplored reported police assaults on journalists who were covering Monday protests by Thanaweya Amma high school students against a government decision to cancel and postpone some of their end-of-year exams.

The union also denounced security forces' treatment of political TV host Liliane Daoud, the "storming of her house" and her deportation shortly after the official termination of her contract with privately owned TV channel OnTV.

"The recent attacks on journalists and media professionals come to emphasise the determination to keep security rein on issues of freedom in general and freedom of the press in particular," the syndicate's statement read.

The union charged hat such violations take place against the backdrop of "a climate of impunity," citing government's inability to hold accountable those responsible for storming the syndicate headquarters in May.

The syndicate in May accused the authorities of declaring war on media freedom following the arrest of two union members after the storming of its downtown Cairo headquarters, the first such incident since the union's founding 74 years ago.

Three of the union's board members, including its head Yehia Kalash, are being tried on charges of harbouring fugitives and spreading false news.

Kalash has spearheaded calls for the dismissal of the country's interior minister following the controversial May raid on the union headquarters.

The Egyptian government maintains that it respects freedom of expression and the press, stressing that it only prosecutes individuals who break standing laws.

The ministry of interior has yet to issue a statement on reasons for deporting Daoud.

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