IFJ Condemns “Desperate Tactics” as Egypt Targets Media

Media Release

31 January 2011

IFJ Condemns “Desperate Tactics” as Egypt Targets Media

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Egypt to end the crackdown on journalism and media which has led to numerous beatings of media staff and censorship of television and communications networks. As the political crisis has intensified with renewed protests in the streets the regime of President Hosni Mubarak has become ever-more desperate to stop media coverage of the uprising.

Media reports say that the Government last week blocked websites and the Qatari- based international broadcaster, Al-Jazeera has been taken off the air. Its office in Cairo has been shut down and staff were arrested, their film confiscated. The studios of the French public broadcaster, France 2 have also been shut.

“This targeting of media is desperation on the part of a regime that is in the brink of collapse,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It makes a mockery of the Government’s talk of dialogue to restore calm.”

According to a statement from Al-Jazeera, five Cairo-based staff were arrested following the Government’s decision over the weekend to withdraw the broadcaster’s licence and its journalists’ accreditation in the country. They were released today.

The move against Al-Jazeera comes days after access to websites in Egypt was blocked ahead of the major streets protests of last Friday. Reports also say the studios of French TV, France 2, have been closed and one camera damaged, according to the SNJ-CGT, an IFJ affiliate in France.

The IFJ, which last week denounced police violence against journalists and warned the authorities over their responsibility for media safety, says the latest measures cast doubt over the Government’s willingness to change.

“Shutting down media as a public space for dialogue is no way for showing genuine commitment to tolerant debate on the country’s future,” added White. “The authorities are failing the basic test of open democracy by stifling free press.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries

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