Journalists demand removal of press syndicate chief

Nourhan El-Abbassy, Tuesday 8 Feb 2011

Egyptian journalists are calling for the head of the press syndicate to step down, following his statements against the January 25 uprising


More than one hundred journalists held an emergency meeting today at the press syndicate to sign a petition to remove Makram Mohamed Ahmed, head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate.

“Our goal is to reach one hundred signatures to withdraw Makarm.” stated Nour El Hoda Zaki, deputy editor of Al Araby Al Nassery newspaper.  

The meeting aimed to collect the one hundred signatures required and called on journalists to convene and vote for the removal of Makram.

Although all the journalists present had a common goal - the removal of Makram - their reasons varied.

Yehia Alash, a journalist and board member at El-Gomhoria newspaper, said that the main concern was that Makram opposed the uprising on January 25 in his media appearances and showed full support for the current Mubarak regime.

“Makram spoke as the head of the Egyptian press syndicate, yet his views reflecting nothing but his own. When Egypt is anti-Mubarak and Makram caters to the regime's solution and opposes the Egyptian revolution this makes us want him removed as part of the regime we are opposing. We don’t want him to speak on our behalf, we want him removed.”

Alash added that Makarm displayed a general absence as he didn’t support journalists that were attacked or detained during the uprising, but made appearances in the media as an individual.

Amr Abdel Ghani, a journalist at Al Taawon newspaper, said that Makram "holds a one man show."

“He didn’t take action when Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud was shot,” adds Makram, "This is nothing but shameful.”

On the other hand, former Voice of America correspondent in the Middle East Ibrahim Abdin stated that although Makram is a good journalist he lost his credibility, especially in the past few days.

“His ongoing support to the regime led to his downfall," Abdin told Ahram Online

He added that it is not about Makram anymore, but it is about Egypt and the future awaiting Egyptians. "We are midway from our longtime dream," said Abdin.

The meeting wasn’t attended by the journalists alone, some of their wives were also present.

Mervat Yehia, a journalist’s wife, stated that she was present because Makram represents the Mubarak regime, and that she was there to support all those against him.

“I came yesterday to the funeral prayer for Mahmoud and now I’m here again to re-chant what I was saying yesterday - "Down with Makaram, down with the regime" - as a means to unite with the Egyptian street that I am part of,” said Yehia.

After collecting the signatures, journalists called for Makram to withdraw from his position, and the abolition of the Supreme Press Council headed by Safwat El Sherif.


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