International Federation of Journalists
From the General Secretary
Mr. Hosni Mubarak
President of Egypt
Fax 202 390 1998
February 23rd 2006
On behalf of the International Federation of Journalists, the world’s largest journalists’ group, I want to raise serious concerns over the continued delay in enacting legislation in Egypt to remove existing threats to the exercise of free journalism.
You will recall that today is the second anniversary of an undertaking by your government to remove legislation which presently could lead to the imprisonment of journalists for carrying out their work. As you know in almost all democratic countries the work of journalists is not subject to criminal jurisdiction and journalists in Egypt are rightly demanding that their work is not subject to forms of judicial intimidation.
We are concerned that two years after your solemn promise of change there is still no action by the government to remove legal obstacles to the exercise of free journalism. We support the entire community of journalists and free speech defenders in Egypt who argue that further delays are intolerable.
It is simply untenable in the modern world that threats of imprisonment for journalists doing their job should remain on the statute book. They should be removed immediately.
We strongly support also the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate which has reiterated its determination to press for a new law and we welcome the draft prepared by legal experts and supported by the syndicate. However we note that this text has run into bureaucratic and political opposition within government circles.
Our colleagues in Cairo are rightly concerned at statements by the Prime Minister which appear to undermine attempts to put right the injustice of supporters of independent journalism and free speech facing jail.
The time has come to end all prevarication and delay and to remove immediately this stain on the fabric of freedom in Egypt. IFJ member unions all around the world support the struggle of Egyptian journalists to defend journalists’ rights.
We ask you to respect their demands, to ensure that the government’s promises of changes in the law are delivered and to continue the process of democratic reform in Egypt in order to nourish and sustain the development of a free and pluralist press.
cc Dr Ahmed Mahmoud Nazif
Magles El Shaab St
Kasr El Aini St, Cairo
Fax 202 735 6449/795 8016 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
cc Safwat El Sherif,
Leader of the Shura Council
Fax 00 202 794 6272 e-mail: email@example.com
cc Dr Ahmed Fathy Sorour
Speaker of the People's Assembly
Fax 00 202 795 0036 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
cc Mr Anas Ahmed Nabih El Feky
Minister of Information
Maspero Corniche El Nil, Cairo
Fax 574 6928 e-mail: email@example.com
cc Mr Counselor Mahmoud Abo Eleil Rahed
Minister of Justice
Magles El Shaab St,
Justice Bldg, Cairo
Fax 795 8103 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Federation of Journalists, International Press Centre,
Résidence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue De La Loi, B1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 235 2200 Fax: +32 2 235 2219