Press Syndicate urges publishing headlines demanding minister's dismissal

Friday 06-05-2016 06:09 PM

an emergency general assembly meeting at the press syndicate in May, 2016. ASWAT MASRIYA

CAIRO, May 6 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's Press Syndicate urged newspapers on Friday to publish headlines or logs in Saturday's issues calling for the sacking of the interior minister in protest against a police raid of the syndicate’s building last week.

This is one of the measures that thousands of journalists agreed to take during an emergency meeting for the syndicate's general assembly on Wednesday.

Security forces raided the syndicate’s headquarters last Sunday to arrest two journalists, Amr Badr and Mahmoud al-Saqqa, who had been sitting in at the building, over accusations of “inciting protests”

In a statement today, the syndicate called on newspapers to publish “messages calling for the dismissal of the interior minister, whether in the form of headlines or logos."

It also called for newspapers to blacken their front pages or parts of them to condemn what the syndicate described as "an assault on press freedom" while continuing to publish a logo that reads, "No to the press gag, no to restricting press freedom."

On Thursday, a number of papers and news websites published the interior minister's picture "in negative" in accordance with decisions made during the syndicate's general assembly meeting.

Wednesday‘s meeting was held amid tight security conditions to discuss the "unprecedented" raid of the syndicate’s headquarters by security forces.

During the meeting, journalists insisted that the interior minister be sacked, holding him primarily responsible for the current "strife". They also decided not to publish the  minister's name in newspapers and demanded an apology from the presidency for the "crime of storming the syndicate."

The interior ministry, however, had denied storming the building or using force to arrest the two journalists. The journalists handed themselves in and all the arrest procedures took place in line with the law, the ministry said in a statement last week.

Both journalists work for the Yanair Gate news website, which is considered to be critical of the government.

They were arrested over accusations that included inciting protests, attempting to overthrow the regime and broadcasting false news with the aim of disturbing public peace. 

The public prosecution issued a gag order banning reporting on the case and said that the police were only executing the law and abiding by the constitution when they arrested Badr and Saqqa.

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