In the run up to World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the Turkish-based Egyptian Revolutionary Council (ERC) has today issued a press statement, urging human rights groups and international organisations to pay attention to “the severe violations of press freedom in Egypt”.
Following the Saudi and UAE-backed coup on 3 July 2013, the Egyptian government under Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has launched vicious attacks on the Egyptian media and monopolised all media platforms. In the absence of an independent judiciary, they have been accused of using the state security apparatus to crush all voices of dissent. This has led to the arrest of dozens of journalists, most of whom are still in Egyptian prisons without charge or detained on false pretences.
In its statement, the ERC said: “Egyptian journalists are part of the Egyptian people and are similarly subjected to the injustice that more than one hundred thousand Egyptian detainees face. The Egyptian Revolutionary Council salutes all honourable Egyptian journalists who struggle to highlight the reality of repression and tyranny in Egypt, and calls on international press organizations to seek to free the detained Egyptian journalists and support them against one of the most repressive regimes in the world.”
Late last year the Sisi regime arrested some 4,000 people over the course of several weeks after protests erupted across the country in September calling for him to step down as president.
Media workers have been specifically targeted as the grip on free speech tightens. Egypt is the third worst imprisoner of journalists worldwide.
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. This year’s theme is said to be on “Journalism Without Fear or Favour” and aims to discuss current challenges to press freedom and journalists’ safety.