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Egypt journalists: We are harassed by security forces and censored

Egyptians hold candles at the entrance of the jounalist's sydicate in Cairo on December 31, 2012 [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptians hold candles at the entrance of the jounalist's sydicate in Cairo on December 31, 2012 [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]

Egyptian journalists have criticised the conditions of their imprisonment without trial or investigation in political cases during the era of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Journalist and former head of the Constitution Party, Khaled Dawoud, said he never imagined that expressing his opinion would land him in prison for 19 months. He stressed that Egypt suffers from a lack of pluralism, with media sites being censored and efforts being taken by the regime to polarise the population.

Freedom of press in Egypt - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Freedom of press in Egypt – Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

He added: "We used to have a diversified media, but, unfortunately, the new regime established under the leadership of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has a specific vision for the media that retrogressed press freedom dramatically."

In his interview with Al-Hurra website, Dawoud indicated that private media has become a copy of state-owned TV channels after a company affiliated with official bodies attempted to buy private channels and newspapers.

He continued: "I do not wish to go back to prison. I do not think going to prison is an act of heroism, and I do not wish that it ever happens to me or anyone else because it is a bitter and cruel experience."

Another journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that he was prevented from returning to his job after he was released from prison, saying: "It is difficult for any local Egyptian newspaper to hire me because I am a suspicious person now."

He criticised the status quo in the country, stressing that journalists are subjected to harassment by the security forces and their affiliates who seek to get closer to the ruling regime.

READ: Leading rights groups urge US not to waive human rights conditions on aid to Egypt

Dozens of Egyptian journalists are being held on charges of a political nature, and most have been in custody for longer than the legally prescribed pre-trial detention period, which should not exceed two years.

Egypt was ranked 166 out of 180 countries, according to the latest Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders in April.

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