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Egypt accused of violating media rights

February 5, 2014 at 1:54 am

The coup government in Egypt has been accused by the International Press Institute of violating journalists’ rights. Executive Director Alison McKenzie has asked the military-backed government in Cairo to respect freedom of the press.

McKenzie told Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr that it has become very difficult to rank Egypt as good when it comes to respecting the freedom of the press, despite it having many dynamic media outlets. “Unfortunately many journalists fear government repression and murder,” she said, “so they have engaged in self-censorship and refrain from writing on some subjects.” The IPI, she added, has been speaking to the Egyptian authorities but not in as much detail as she would have liked.

“The Egyptian authorities accuse journalists of bias and of siding with a certain party against the other which, they claim, compels them to suppress the media,” she explained. “We know very well that freedom is associated with responsibility and that some journalists in Egypt need training but this does not justify the level of arrests that we have witnessed.” The confiscation of broadcasting equipment and raids on media offices are unacceptable, she stressed, regardless of any political affiliations involved.

The IPI head said that she hopes to visit Egypt soon because she wants to hear from journalists on the ground and engage in a serious dialogue with officials. “However, this will be conditional on all journalists being freed first,” she insisted.