File Photo: Egypt's press syndicate (Photo: Ahram)
The Egyptian Journalists Syndicate has urged its members to report any incidents of sexual misconduct to the authorities.
“The board of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate declares its full rejection and complete condemnation of the recently exposed sexual harassment and sexual assault crimes that have taken place in Egypt, against any Egyptian or non-Egyptian girl or woman in general, and against female journalists in particular,” said Diaa Rashwan, the head of the syndicate, in a statement issued on Thursday.
Anonymous allegations that a prominent investigatory journalist had sexually assaulted and harassed a number of women in the media field have been circulating online over the past week, with the journalist’s name – which Ahram Online is choosing not to disclose at this time – trending on Twitter.
Writing on social media, the journalist denied the allegations and threatened legal action if he is defamed.
So far, the allegations against the journalist have been anonymous testimonies published on blogs and on social media, with no complainants making official reports to the authorities as yet.
In online comments, however, some female journalists have demanded the syndicate take action and internally investigate his conduct.
In his statement, Rashwan called on the victims to report any such crimes to Egypt’s general prosecution, describing it as “the only competent authority” for prosecuting such complaints and taking the necessary legal steps.
“I call on all colleagues who have knowledge or evidence or complaints related to these shameful crimes to quickly present them to the public prosecution in order not to let the preparators escape the consequences of their actions, especially after the amendment of the criminal procedures law to guarantee victims’ confidentiality,” he said.
Rashwan promised that the syndicate would offer all legal help to members who present complaints or testimonies to the prosecution.
He also said that the syndicate would implement its legal requirements immediately and suspend the membership of anyone convicted of such crimes, as they would have violated one of the conditions of membership.
Rashwan explained that, according to Article 5 of the law regulating the syndicate, “syndicate members must have a good reputation and should not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanour related to dishonour or trust.”