The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Egypt
to end the crackdown on journalism and media which has led to numerous beatings
of media staff and censorship of television and communications networks. As the
political crisis has intensified with renewed protests in the streets the
regime of President Hosni Mubarak has become ever-more desperate to stop media
coverage of the uprising.
Media reports say that the Government last week blocked websites and the
Qatari- based international broadcaster, Al-Jazeera has been taken off the air.
Its office in Cairo has been shut down and staff were arrested, their film
confiscated. The studios of the French public broadcaster, France 2 have also
"This targeting of media is desperation on the part of a regime that is
in the brink of collapse," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It makes a
mockery of the Government's talk of dialogue to restore calm."
According to a statement from Al-Jazeera, five Cairo-based staff were
arrested following the Government's decision over the weekend to withdraw the
broadcaster's licence and its journalists' accreditation in the country. They
were released today.
The move against Al-Jazeera comes days after access to websites in Egypt
was blocked ahead of the major streets protests of last Friday. Reports also say
the studios of French TV, France 2, have been closed and one camera damaged,
according to the SNJ-CGT, an IFJ affiliate in France.
IFJ, which last week denounced police violence against journalists and warned
the authorities over their responsibility for media safety, says the latest
measures cast doubt over the Government's willingness to change.
down media as a public space for dialogue is no way for showing genuine
commitment to a tolerant debate on the country's future," added White. "The
authorities are failing the basic test of open democracy by stifling free
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than
600.000 members in 125 countries