Tunisia’s press union slams ‘vicious attack’ on Egypt’s journalists

Tunisia’s national press syndicate criticised in a statement Wednesday what it described as a “vicious attack” on press freedom in Egypt, days after police stormed the Journalists Syndicate building in Downtown Cairo in an “unprecedented raid.”

The Tunisian union expressed “absolute support and unconditional solidarity with [Egyptian journalists],” saying it stood by them “against the unjustified attack they are subjected to.”

It added in a statement that the administration of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi should hold “legal and ethical responsibility” for violations against journalists, citing detentions of writers over publishing issues, “forced disappearances” of others, and raids on their homes.

Twenty seven journalists are currently behind bars in Egypt, according to head of press syndicate, Yehia Kalash. Some were sentenced to prison for publishing “false news” and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group. Others are standing trial on similar charges or are still in pre-trial detention.

The Tunisian union demanded an “end to such practices as well as lifting restrictions Egyptian journalists face,” which it said contravene press freedom laws and conventions.

On Sunday night, security forces raided the syndicate premises and arrested two journalists, sparking public outrage and prompting dozens of journalists to stage a sit-in at the syndicate headquarters.

Around 2,000 journalists rallied at the syndicate’s meeting on Wednesday to discuss responses to the raid, chanting slogans of freedom of press. The syndicate warned journalists will go on strike if their demands, on top of which is the sacking of the interior minister, are not met by next week.

The Tunisian union has urged all Tunisian journalists to write about the crisis, challenging a gag order imposed Tuesday by Egypt’s top prosecutor on publishing on the arrest of the journalists.

Source: Ahram Online