Call for solidarity as attacks on Egyptian journalists rise

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has hit out at an outrageous and unacceptable attack by the Egyptian authorities on media and union rights as journalists in Cairo meet today in a special assembly to plan their response. The move follows an unprecedented attack by the police on the headquarters of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate (EJS) – and the arrest of two of its members. Omar Badr and Mahmoud al Saqa were seized on 2 May after being accused by the Government of a range of charges including incitement. The EJS has demanded their immediate release – a call backed by journalists unions across the Arab world at an IFJ-organised World Press Freedom Day conference in Casablanca. IFJ President Jim Boumelha said: “The Egyptian government chose to celebrate World Press Freedom Day by attacking a journalists union and arresting its members. With 45 journalists rounded up to prevent them covering a protest last week this is no isolated incident. The clampdown on media freedom goes on and on. “We utterly condemn this grave attack on trade union and media freedom and we stand in solidarity with all our jailed colleagues, with our union and all those who strive for freedom of expression in Egypt”. The EJS is holding a special assembly today to plan their response and will meet with doctors, lawyers and other professional groups to discuss the increasing attempts to muzzle free speech.

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