The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Egyptian government to ensure that the upcoming elections for the leadership of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate (EJS) are free and fair following an intervention by the Prime Minister to offer support for one of the candidates.
“The business of electing union leaders is a matter for journalists and union members alone,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “This proposal by the prime minister appears to be interfering in the election process.”
The EJS on Saturday, November17th will hold elections for president and for half of the seats on its board of directors.
On Tuesday Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif told Makram Mohamed Ahmed, one of the candidates for the EJS presidency, that journalists would see their salaries increased by 200 Egyptian pounds (25 euros) per month for training and other uses plus get additional in-kind benefits.
The IFJ welcomed the increase in salary but warned that the government should not have made such a promise in an effort to influence the upcoming elections.
The EJS has previously made a “wages proposal” to the Higher Media Counsel that called for real improvements in journalists’ salaries and protection from exploitation by the government or media owners.
President Hosni Mubarak has said publicly that journalists are free to choose who they want to represent them in the EJS elections.
“We hope that any offer made by the government is intended to improve working conditions in the media industry and not to give an unfair advantage to any particular candidates,” White said.
For more information contact the IFJ at + 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.