IPI delegation makes emergency visit to Cairo
Government urged to live up to the potential of new Constitution by freeing journalists
CAIRO, Jan 27 2014 – A high-level delegation from the International Press Institute (IPI) met today in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy to discuss the media climate in Egypt, including the protection of journalists.
The meeting capped two days of fact-finding discussions with Egyptian lawyers, human rights groups and journalists.
The foreign minister and the delegation agreed on the need for implementation of press guarantees contained in Egypt’s newly approved Constitution, including provisions that safeguard press freedom, such as articles on freedom of publication and the independence of the news media. The new fundamental law also includes protections against censorship, confiscation, suspension and closure of news media.
At least 12 Egyptian and foreign journalists, including five from Al Jazeera, are being detained in Egypt, while scores have been injured and their equipment confiscated or destroyed since president Mohamed Morsi was removed from power last July. At least five journalists were killed in Egypt in July and August 2013.
“We are encouraged by the new Constitution, which strongly endorses press freedom, and we welcome the willingness of the foreign minister to discuss these issues with us,” IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said. “In this respect, we call for the immediate release of those journalists being detained and we urge the government to send a clear message to the public that it is unacceptable to target or intimidate journalists.”
The delegation arrived in Egypt on Jan. 25, the third anniversary of the start of the revolution that led to the resignation of long-time Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. Voters approved the new Constitution in a nationwide referendum held from Jan. 14 to 15.
The IPI representatives are also scheduled to meet with officials from the State Information Service, as well as with legal and media representatives.
In addition to Bethel McKenzie, the delegation includes:
-IPI Executive Board Chair Galina Sidorova, chairperson, Foundation for Investigative Journalism Foundation 19/29, Russia
-IPI Executive Board Vice-Chair Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, editor-in-chief & CEO, Boishakhi TV, Bangladesh.
-IPI Executive Board Member Daoud Kuttab, director general, Community Media Network; founder, AmmanNet, Jordan
-IPI Executive Board Member Kabiru Yusuf, chairman, Media Trust Ltd, Nigeria
-IPI Senior Press Freedom Advisor Timothy Spence
For more information, contact Timothy Spence, senior IPI press freedom advisor for the Middle East and Africa, at +43 676 963 83 15 or email tspence[at]freemedia.at.
IPI is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists dedicated to furthering and safeguarding press freedom, promoting the free flow of news and information, and improving the practices of journalism. Formed in 1950 at Columbia University by 34 leading editors from 15 countries on the belief that a free press would contribute to the creation of a better world, IPI today includes members in more than 120 countries and holds consultative status with the United Nations and the Council of Europe.