Press syndicate to question chairman who voted on draft constitution

Ahram Online, Saturday 1 Dec 2012

The board of Egypt's press syndicate has rejected the draft constitution, and will take disciplinary measures against those journalists who disobeyed the syndicate's decision to withdraw from the Constituent Assembly

Press syndicate
Syndicate board deputy chairman Gamal Fahmy (Photo: Ahram Online archive)

The Egyptian Press Syndicate board has announced that it rejects the draft constitution passed by the Constituent Assembly on Friday, saying that the charter infringes on the rights and freedoms of Egyptians, as well as freedom of the press.

Syndicate board deputy chairman Gamal Fahmy read a statement during a press conference following a board meeting on Saturday, declaring that disciplinary measures will be taken against syndicate members who have continued representing the press in the constitution-drafting body, despite the board’s earlier decision to withdraw from the Constituent Assembly.

The disciplinary measures will affect syndicate chairman Mamdouh El-Waly who refused to withdraw from the Constituent Assembly.  

The syndicate further declared its support of those newspapers that will be holding a one-day strike on Tuesday, as well as the television channels that will not be broadcasting on Wednesday, in protest at the newly-issued constitutional declaration.

Syndicate members will also hold a march from the press syndicate headquarters in downtown Cairo to Tahrir Square on Tuesday, starting at 1pm.

A blacklist will be created with the names of those believed by the board to have contributed to the violation of Egyptians' rights and freedoms and "topping this list is head of the Constituent Assembly Judge Hossam El-Gheriany" stated Fahmy.

Finally, the board stated that syndicate elections will take place as planned in March 2012.  

The board announced the syndicate's withdrawal from Egypt's Constituent Assembly on 20 November, citing the assembly's refusal to listen to the syndicate's recommendations.

The decision came after an urgent council meeting that resulted in a unanimous vote in favour of withdrawal.

The council criticised what it said were violations of freedom of expression in the current draft constitution. Moreover, it criticised the assembly's disregard for journalists' demands to protect press independence, to prohibit the closing down of media outlets or the withdrawal of newspaper editions.

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