48 violations against journalists during February 2017
March 11th, 2017


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"journalists against torture" observatory has monitored 48 violations against journalists while they were doing their job or because of their job in many governorates during February 2017.

the observatory indicate that these cases are not a total inventory, but it's what the research department managed to monitor, the observatory attach an excel document with all the violations with all the details concerning the victim and the aggressor sector and the source and the citation of every violation.

Violations distributed according to the degree of documentation

التوثيق

The journalists against torture observatory has monitored 48 violations against torture while they were doing their job or because of their press job during January 2016, the observatory has documented 29 violations directly and 19 violations were documented indirectly.

Violations distributed according to its type

نوع الاننتهاك

14  preventing from press coverage violations, 10 violations of imposing financial fines, 8 violations of accusing by submitting minutes to the prosecution,  6 of verbal assault by insulting or threat violations, , 5 violations of arresting and accusing, 5 cases of arresting and accusing, 3 violations of illegal detention, 3 imprisonment sentences, 2 violations of beating or wounding assault and 2 violations of damaging or burning press equipment.

violations distributed according to the victims' sector

جهة الضحية

14 violations against journalists in the Egyptian private newspaper which is always the most vulnerable sector to violations, 14 violations against unidentified press bodies that is related to mass violations while many journalists from different press institutions, 8 violations against people working in news agencies, 5 violations against people working in Egyptian private channels, 4 violations against people working in governmental newspapers and 3 violations against people working in networks news and electronic newspapers.

Violations distributed according to the aggressor sector

جهة المعتدي

the governmental bodies and officials topped the list of the aggressor sector during February with 20 violations against journalists, the judicial bodies came in the second place with 15 violations, 5 violations by the interior ministry, 5 violations by civilians and 3 violations by private security officers.

Violations distributed according to the governorate

وفقا للموقع

Giza came first with 25 violations, 16 violations in Cairo, 2 violations in Dakahlia, 2 violations in Qaliubiya and one violation in all of Suez, Shrqia and Bani Sweif.

violations distributed according to gender

وفقا للنوع

males are the most violated with 22 violations, 16 mass violations for both males and females, 10 violations against females.

violations distributed according to press specializations

وفقا للتخصص

12 violations against unknown specializations as it happened in mass violation with many various specializations that we couldn't count, 10 executives, 6 journalists, 6 reporters, 4 broadcasters and 4 photographers.

The accusation of Insult  and slander topped the list of the violations against the journalists during February

Insulting and slandering one of the most accusations that chase the journalists because of the circumstances of working in press and media as he searches for information and criticizing public figures and accusing the ones they felt or knew that they are corrupted, or implementing wrong policies, this makes him eligible to the accusation of insulting and slandering. This accusation ,as we clarified in a previous research, depends on flexible words like what issued in the article numbered 308 in the panel code as it gave imprisonment as a punishment for using  humiliating words that related to dishonor but the law didn't mention the measurement for these words as it's a flexible definition that could change by time and it varies between different cultures which couldn't be used in accusation with punishment  deprive liberty.

During February, 10 judicial sentences of imposing fines and an imprisonment sentence on insulting and slandering cases. It's observed that four sentences of them including the imprisonment sentence are in favor of Ahmed El-zend, the former minister of justice, besides 8 accusations by a prosecution minute of insulting and slandering during February, it's observed also that 6 minutes are by governmental bodies and officials.

 The sentences of the cases of insulting and slandering

*On 14th February,  North Cairo criminal court decided a 6 month imprisonment sentence on Safwat Omran, and imposing a 20 thousand pound fine on Gamal Abdelrehem ,the former editor in chief of "El-Gomhoriya and the general secretary of the journalists syndicate for being responsible of publishing an interview with Abu Barka ,the counselor of the dissolved party of liberty and justice, who is accused with them in the same case of insulting the judicial authority and insulting and slandering the minister of justice. According this, the journalist Safwat Omran is eligible to imprisonment as it's a final sentence, and the cassation on the sentence requires the imprisonment of the journalist first.

* first October misdemeanor court, in the hearing held on 23rd February by the judge Mahmoud El-barbary, decided imposing a 10 thousand pound fine for both "yousef Elhussiney"  and the editor in chief of the program "Elsada Elmohtramon" for insulting and slandering "Ahmed Elzend" the former minister of justice.

* the North Cairo 63 circuit of amendment ,held in Elabyassia on 1st February, decided to obliging Ahmed Moussa paying a 10 thousand pound amendment to the lawyer Tarek Elawdy for insulting and slandering him through an episode of his program broadcasted in September 2014.     

* On 11th February, the Dokii misdemeanor court decided  in the absentia imposing fines on all of Khaled Saleh ,the editor in chief of "Elyom Elsabee" newspaper, and the executive editor in chief of the same newspaper "Dandrawy El-hawary" for insulting and slandering Kamal Abu-etta  ,the former minister of workforce.

* On 14th February, the Dokii misdemeanor court decided imposing a 10 thousand pound fine on the editor in chief of "Elyoom El-sabee" newspaper "Khaled saleh" and a 15 thousand pound fine on a journalist in the same newspaper named Mohamed Attia for insulting and slandering the general chairman of the sufi liberation party. 

* on 21st February, the Dokii misdemeanor court decided imposing a 10 thousand pound fine on "Abdelhaleem Andeel" ,the press writer and the editor in chief of "Sawt elomma ", and a 15 thousand pound fine on a journalist in the same newspaper, for being guilty insulting and slandering a school manager in Daqhlia.

Continuing the same rate of the previous month .. three sentence of imprisonment on journalists during February

As we represented in the previous idea, an imprisonment sentence is decided  on an insulting and slandering case, there are another two imprisonment sentences on a case of publishing wrong information, as Qaliob misdemeanor court decided 6 months imprisonment of "Hala Elbadry" ,the former editor in chief of "Radio and TV" magazine and the journalist "Mosad Galal" and a 10001 pound civic amendment in the case numbered 9934  for year 2016 and the number 2459 for year 2016, for publishing a fabricated report about the businessman "Ahmed Abu-hashima" as the investigation clarified

It's worth indicating that the previous month also witnessed three imprisonment sentences on journalists, one sentence on an impersonation a journalist case, two sentences on a libel and insulting and slandering case.

The sharpened violations by the governmental bodies and officials

The governmental bodies and officials committed 20 violations from the total 49 violations committed against journalists during February, the violations varied between preventing press coverage or deleting the camera content _which is the most committed_ , illegal detention, insulting or threatening , damaging press equipment besides 6 cases of accusing by submitting minutes to the prosecution, here are the violations by her side in except of the 6 accusations : 

The violations by the legislative authority (the parliament) against the journalists .. preventing and insulting:

One preventing from press coverage violation by the parliament*

The minister of public business sector "Ashraf Elsharkawy" refused the attendance of the parliamentary editors in the meeting of the industry committee in the representative house held on 27th February claiming that publishing about the eastern company for smoking may affect the shares of the company in the stock that may cause loses, in spite of the meeting was included in the schedule of the subsidiary committees for that day, but after the journalists had entered to the committee's room, they were informed that the meeting will be closed to members only without explaining reasons according to their right to do so according to the bylaws.

* the parliament member "Mortada Mansour" insulted and threated the journalists

The parliament member "Mortada Mansour" ,in the public hearing of the parliament,  assaulted severely the press writer "Ibrahim Eissa" because of what he described "insulting" the parliament through his newspaper "El-maqal" and he used insulting words, and he threatened the journalists to beat them if they didn't respect the parliaments, this chagrined the parliamentary editors, who demanded from the section of the parliamentary editors to make any measurement about this insult.
from its side, the parliamentary editors section condemned the insulting sentences, but the crisis ended with the visit of mortada mnsour to the press centre apologizing and saying that he didn't intend to humiliate the journalists, this visit was after the parliamentary editors section demanded banning publishing any news about "Mourada Mansour" on newspapers and news agencies objecting to insulting the press and journalists.

The executive authority and the continuity of the policy of hiding information by preventing the press coverage and assaulting journalists

The violations of assaulting journalists by the executive authority during this month express the policies and the attitude they use with journalists to hide information and their policy of selection and the disrespect of journalism or the rights of the journalists and dealing with them as if they were rivals, besides disrespecting the right to access information that is constitutionally issued as they deal with it as they on this right and that they have the right to control giving or preventing, and we will express these violations that clarify this.

* assaulting Solafa Magdy and her colleague "Hossam Elsayad" by 15 persons from the presidency of El-waraq district, as we monitored 8 violations in this incident as they were illegally detained  and they had their press equipment damaged and they were prevented from press coverage and they had the press material deleted from the camera besides insulting them.

* three preventing from press coverage violations, one of them was deliberate violation to a specific editor, and the other two are mass violations:

- this incident indicates the result of criticizing the policies of the executive authority and violate also the freedom of speech and the right to access information as it acted like it had the right to prevent and give information according to its selection.
the security of the ministry of education prevented "Yasmine Badwy" ,an editor in the topic of education at "Sada Elbalad" website, from entering the headquarter of the ministry claiming that they had an order from the office of the minister "El-helaly Elshrbeny" not to let her enter and not giving her any information, she said that was because of a report made by her published in the website about the negatives of the new educational system named "the booklet".

- the officials at the agriculture ministry prevented the media and press from attending the meeting held by the minister of agriculture and the minister of  supply in the headquarter of the ministry of agriculture on 6th February to discuss the increasing prices of the poultary, in spite of they had an official invitation sent on e-mail by the information office of the ministry to press the meeting. Then they were surprised of preventing them from entering and pressing as they were informed that the meeting is closed and if they wanted to ask something they would have to wait until the meeting would end, in spite of permitting the photographer of the channel "Masr Elzra3yia" and the photographer of the ministry enter and press, this Infuriated journalists and some of them left and withdrew the press coverage especially because they were officially invited, bit this incident resulted from lack of coordination between the information office.
the ministry sent a statement to all the journalists with the summary of the meeting, but it's still considered a violation to the journalists' right to attend the public meetings that issued in the article 11 of the law of press regulation numbered 96, and it also included discrimination when selected two photographers only which violate the article numbered 9 of the same law that banned any restrictions hinder the information access or hinder giving equal opportunities between different newspapers.

- the directorate of endowments in Suez prevented the heads of the administrations and mosques inspectors and the department heads  from giving any information or give press statements so as not to reflect the Imam's work.
this decision came as a result of the crisis arose lately because of firing the Imam of "Eltawba" mosque after his speech about the goal keeper of the national team of football and calling the youth to and consider him as a role model.
this decision chagrined the journalists considering it a violation against the press and the right to access information and they informed the journalists syndicate about this.

Journalists aren't welcomed in the ministry of local development

The general "Waleed Moshrafa" ,the chief of the central administration of the office of the minister of local development, asked the journalists at the local development department who went to meet the new minister and welcome him to leave saying "The minster won't meet journalists and he won't be photographed today, you are not welcomed" , as soon as this incident had been published, the minister called all the newspapers' chiefs to apologize and promised to correct this unintended mistake and the misunderstanding.

Recommendations

1) legislative modifications clarify specifically the accusation of "Insulting and slandering" without using flexible word and revocation of the imprisonment punishment of it.

2) issuing the law concerning the revocation of imprisonment punishments in press crimes that include insulting and slandering and publishing wrong information.

3) urgent modification of the journalists syndicate's law to include the electronic journalism and modifying the conditions of enrollment to be convenient with the customs of working in press to protect journalists from prosecution with the accusation of "Impersonation of a journalist".

4) issuing the complementary constitutional law of "the right of information access".

5) the three authorities should respect the journalists' rights of information access and attending the general meetings.