RSF Calls on Egypt To Release Detained Journalists Ahead Of National Dialogue

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday called on the Egyptian government to unblock news websites and release imprisoned journalists as the country holds “national dialogue” to discuss the priorities for “national action.”

Head of RSF’s Middle East Desk, Sabrina Bennoui said that the Egyptian authorities have an opportunity to prove that they can keep their word with regard to press freedom.

“This national dialogue must lead to concrete results including the unblocking of news sites and the release of all journalists and bloggers,” Bennoui added.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has called the 2022 to be the “year of civil society” and stressed that the dialogue must include all political parties “without discrimination.”

It has been said that representatives of civil society and members of the opposition would participate in the dialogue.

The national dialogue is being conducted with a “19-member board of trustees” that includes six journalists, namely Jamal El-Keshky, the editor of the magazine Al-Ahram Al-Arabi; Abdel Azim Hammad, the former editor of the daily newspapers Al-Shorouk and Al-Ahram; Emad El Din Hussein, the current editor of Al-Shorouk; Fatma El-Sayed Ahmed, a freelance journalist and writer; Mohamed Salmawy, a writer and columnist for various media outlets including the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm; and Mahmoud Alam El-Din, a freelance journalist and professor of journalism at Cairo University.

This dialogue is billed as part of the five-year human rights plan called the “National Strategy for Human Rights” that was launched on 11 September 2021.

“We call on the government to demonstrate the sincerity of its commitment to human rights by releasing all detained journalists,” RSF said in a statement.

With five recently released journalists, the total numbers of journalists behind bars have reached to 22 in total.

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