On the Divide: Press Freedom at Risk in Egypt

3. CPJ’s Recommendations

The Committee to Protect Journalists offers the following recommendations to Egyptian authorities, political parties, and news media, and to the international community.

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To Egyptian authorities:

  • End censorship. Allow all news media, including outlets supportive of former President Mohamed Morsi, to resume operations immediately and without condition. Egypt’s path to peace and freedom depends on authorities respecting the rule of law and human rights for all people. All voices, including those of the Muslim Brotherhood, must be heard.
  • Drop all efforts to have any government entity participate in, review, or approve any journalistic code of ethics. Decisions on whether to develop such a code, and what such a code might include, must be made at the sole discretion of Egyptian journalists.
  • As an immediate step, abolish prison sentences for all press-related violations and remove all insult laws from the penal code. Pending criminal cases against journalists facing such insult charges should be dropped in consideration of this change.
  • Develop clear and unequivocal constitutional articles that enshrine press freedom, freedom of speech, and citizens’ right to information.
  • Undertake thorough statutory reform to bring all laws in conformance with international standards for freedom of expression. Ensure that statutes regarding incitement to violence adhere to international standards.
  • Ensure that all local and international journalists are allowed access to all public events, and ensure they can work without fear of harassment or obstruction.
  • Investigate thoroughly and prosecute all those responsible for the killing of journalist Al-Hosseiny Abou Deif, who was shot while covering a protest in Cairo on December 2012. Numerous questions have arisen concerning the thoroughness and impartiality of the investigation. In addition, investigate the deaths of Salah al-Din Hassan and Ahmed Assem el-Senousy, who were killed while covering demonstrations in June and July 2013.
  • Ensure the Egyptian judiciary is able to conduct independent and impartial reviews of all cases involving press freedom.

To Egyptian political parties:

  • All parties should respect the role played by all journalists in covering news events, providing diverse perspectives, and giving voice to all sectors of society. All parties must condemn anti-press aggression, state in unequivocal terms that such violence is not condoned, and work actively to prevent supporters from attacking members of the press. All parties should agree that, regardless of their political differences, Egyptian democracy will not flourish without a diverse, vibrant, and secure media environment. 

To Egyptian news media:

  • Bridge the intense polarization within the Egyptian media that makes all Egyptian journalists more vulnerable. Speak out against all attacks on the press, including acts of censorship, obstruction, harassment, threat, and assault.

To the international community:

  • Insist on respect for press freedom and the complete end to ongoing censorship as conditions for bilateral and multilateral support.
  • Speak out against ongoing press violations in both public statements and private communications with the Egyptian government.



PHOTO: A July protest in Cairo. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

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