In Egypt last week a journalist was barred from travel without official explanation, a reporter was accused of criminal defamation over a 2015 investigation on child prostitution, and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi defended Egypt's freedom of expression record. An appeal date was also set for the Journalists' Syndicate leaders who were sentenced this month to two years in prison.
News of the hospitalization of an imprisoned photojournalist after security forces cracked down on an uprising in Borg al-Arab prison tops the list of attacks on the press last week in Egypt. Also last week: Two leaders of the Journalists' Syndicate were sentenced to two years in prison each but remain free on bail; a presidential pardon included two journalists who had nearly completed their prison terms; a court ordered the release of Ismail Alexandrani, but the prosecution successfully appealed; and finally, Mahmoud Abou Zeid Shawkan was at last allowed to tell the judge hearing his case that he is a photojournalist.
New York, November 19, 2016 - The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the conviction of three leaders of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate today on charges of harboring a fugitive. A Cairo court sentenced Yehia Qallash, the chairman of the syndicate, and board members Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim to two years in prison, according to news reports. The court set bail of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (US$628) each pending appeal.
Four journalists were detained November 11 amid a heavy deployment of security forces in Egypt's cities in response to calls for nationwide protests over economic reforms. The protests were fewer and smaller than anticipated, but journalists were still harassed and, in some cases, arrested, according to local and international media. One journalist remains in custody. Separately, a gag order on an investigation into the funding of civil society organizations remains in place, and courts are due to hear two criminal defamation cases brought by public officials against reporters.
In a joint letter, CPJ calls on Mauritania's President to help secure the release of blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed, also known as Mohamed Ould M'Kaitir. Mauritania's Supreme Court is due to review Mohamed's case on November 15. The blogger faces the death penalty.
Restrictions against the press continue in Egypt, with ongoing trials of journalists, some of whom have been in detention for more than three years, allegations that a TV station was ordered to drop a planned broadcast of an interview with a former official, and a reporter detained while trying to cover a sensitive story. Egypt has been a leading jailer of journalists for more than a year, and the country's press is regularly harassed. CPJ has documented the following press freedom violations in the past week:
CPJ’s 2016 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free
By Elisabeth Witchel, CPJ Impunity Campaign Consultant
Published October 27, 2016.
Some of the highest rates of impunity in the murders of journalists can be attributed to killings by Islamist militant groups, CPJ found in its latest Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go free. The worst country for the second year in a row is Somalia, where the militant group al-Shabaab is suspected in the majority of media murders, followed by Iraq and Syria, where members of the militant group Islamic State murdered at least six journalists in the past year.
New York, October 21, 2016 - An Iraqi journalist was killed today covering fighting between militants from the Islamic State group and Kurdish security forces, according to news reports. The killing came as at least seven journalists were injured in the past two days while covering the joint offensive to reclaim the city of Mosul from control of the Islamic State group.
Corruption is one of the most dangerous beats for journalists, and one of the most important for holding those in power to account. There is growing international recognition that corruption is also one of the biggest impediments to poverty reduction and good governance. This is why journalists on this beat must be protected, including by multilateral lending institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which just concluded their annual meetings in Washington D.C.
New York, October 2, 2016 - Dutch freelance photojournalist Jeroen Oerlemans was killed today in the Libyan city of Sirte while covering clashes between Islamic State fighters and forces loyal to the Libyan Army, according to Dutch and Libyan news outlets.