Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a speech in Brest, France, on February 11, 2022. CPJ called on the European Commission to stand for press freedom during el-Sisi's visit to the EU. (Reuters/Ludovic Marin)

CPJ calls on European Commission to stand for press freedom during el-Sisi visit

Brussels, February 14, 2022 — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen must speak out on media freedom when she meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi this week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Monday.

“Egyptian President el-Sisi has systematically attacked the press, imprisoned journalists, and silenced critical voices,” said Tom Gibson, CPJ’s EU representative.  “The European Commission should abide by its values and demand during el-Sisi’s upcoming visit that Egyptian authorities cease their repression of the media. The commission cannot let business carry on as usual.”

Von der Leyen is scheduled to receive el-Sisi at a meeting on February 17, while he is in Brussels to attend a summit between the European Union and the African Union.

In its 2021 prison census, CPJ documented at least 25 journalists in detention in Egypt, making it the world’s third-worst jailer of journalists. Egyptian authorities have repeatedly harassed and censored journalists through legal threats, surveillance, and imprisonment.