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Friday, August 24, 2012

Mohamed Morsy ends the practice of detaining journalists for “press crimes”

Mohamed Morsy, Egypt's President

According to Yasser Ali, official presidential spokesperson, Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy issued a new law on Thursday which cancels the Mubarak-era practice of temporarily detaining the journalists and reporters for so called “press crimes”, such as offending the state’s president, government etc.

This move represented the first use of Mohamed Morsy’s presidential legislative authority, which he can exercise according to the recently proclaimed new Constitutional Declaration.
It means that any temporarily detention of editors, journalists and reporters in Egypt for “public offences” and publication of false information would be illegal in the country. It also changes the situation with Islam Afify, Al-Dostour’s editor-in-chief, who is currently under detention.

Recall that the recent arrest of Islam Afify and the following confiscation of the Al-Dostour’s issue, where the newspaper’s editor-in-chief has published the false information which offended Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy, sparked a wave of criticism and protests among the local media representatives, politicians and activists. The situation was considered being a threat to Egypt’s basic rights and freedom of speech, expression and press. Afify’s detention was also condemned by several political groups issuing the statements condemning this move. Egyptian activists started the campaign in social media which called to stop the practice of journalists’ detentions for expression of their views and stop the violation of the basic constitutional rights of the citizens for freedom of speech.

Islam Afify, editor-in-chief of Egyptian private newspaper
Egyptian human rights’ organizations (for example, Egyptian Initiative for the Personal Rights) meanwhile condemned the detention of Islam Afify. The same reaction came also from the international organizations, such as Reporters without Borders.

After Mohamed Morsy’s new law issued by him today, Egypt’s Public prosecutor has already ordered to release the previously detained Islam Afify.