12 newspapers and 5 TV channels strike for freedom of expression

Ahram Online , Monday 3 Dec 2012

12 Egyptian privately and partisan-owned newspapers and five TV channels plan to stop work on Tuesday and Wednesday against the proposed draft constitution

media strike
Media strike poster reads in Arabic “a constitution that terminates rights and restrains freedoms. No to dictatorship”

Ahram Online declares its full support for the strike action undertaken on Tuesday by a large number of major Egyptian newspapers and TV stations in defence of freedom of the press, freedom of expression, civil liberties and the rule of law. In view of our particular status as a web-based news outlet, however, we will maintain our updates throughout this crucial day of protest, not in contravention of the strike action, but in full solidarity with it. These decisions were consensually adopted by an all-staff meeting of Ahram Online, and in consultation with members of the board of the Press Syndicate and striking news media.


Twelve Egyptian newspapers and five TV channels announced that they will go on strike for one day to object to both recently issued constitutional declaration and the draft constitution.

The newspapers will not print on Tuesday and the TV channels will go off-air on Wednesday.

The draft constitution, which was passed on 30 November by the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly and is set to be voted on in a referendum on 15 December, does not include articles against the imprisonment of journalists in cases related to freedom of expression as demanded by journalists.

The Journalists Syndicate's executive council had withdrawn its representatives from the Constituent Assembly in mid-November after its recommendations and suggestions were ignored by the assembly.

Later, the general assembly of the syndicate had threatened on 25 November to stage a strike against the constitutional declaration that president Mohamed Morsi issued on 23 November..  

The newspapers that will go on strike on Tuesday include: Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Watan, Al-Tahrir, Al-Wafd, Al-Youm 7, Al-Dostour, Al-Shorouk, Al-Sabah, Al-Ahaly, Al-Ahrar, Al-Fagr and Osbooa. 

The TV channels that will go on strike on Wednesday, with blank screens broadcasting in place of content, are: ONTV channels, CBC and Modern channels, Al-Hayat Channels and Dream TV channels.

Already on Monday, Al-Wafd newspaper, Al-Youm 7 newspaper, Al-Watan newspaper, Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper and Tahrir newspaper shared the same headline “No to dictatorship” with an illustration showing a prisoner made of newspaper sitting in a dark cell.

Online media will not go on strike on Tuesday to be able to cover the newspaper strike and other  protests planned by the opposition against both the declation and the draft at the presidential palace in the evening.

"We need the online media to be able to send the message of the strike to the reader," Alaa El-Attar, member of the Journalists Syndicate board told Ahram Online.

"However, it will be left to every online news site to define the way it expresses its solidarity with the strike," El Attar added.

Ahram Arabic-language news website reporters have decided to go on partial strike on Monday in solidarity with the media strike planned for Tuesday.

"We announce, as the young reporters of Ahram Arabic portal, that on top the disgraceful rejection of journalism in the new draft constitution and how Judge Hossam El-Gheriany, the head of Constituent Assembly, mocked journalists," reads the statement "We decided to go on strike Monday, 3 December, in solidarity with the right of the reader to get free press, away from any pressure and in accordance with the decision of the Journalists' Syndicate Council to go on strike to object to the repression of freedoms, the approval to confiscate newspapers and imprisonment of journalists in the new draft constitution," the statement continued.

The reporters of Ahram Arabic news website, which is considered one of the biggest news portals in Egypt, are on strike, with the exception of a single reporter who is keeping the portal updated.

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