Journalism group urges Sisi not to sign draft laws

US based journalism group urges Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi not to sign draft laws, claims to restrict freedom of press

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), urged Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi not to sign two draft laws in an open letter on Thursday, claiming they threaten the already restricted freedom of press.

The group insisted for Sisi to deny to sign the draft law, which will allow journalists to be imprisoned in the case of reporting information on terror attacks and allow authorities to jail internet users for questionably defined offenses such as "threatening national unity."

Egypt's journalists union has also strictly criticised the draft.

The CPJ reported that at least 18 journalists were jailed in Egypt as of June 1 and that at least five other journalists have been detained since then.

Some of the jailed journalists were charged with "spreading chaos," others with spreading anti-government messages.

The CPJ accused the government of using national security to arrest and jail journalists and others who want to share information regarding the issues of the country.

"Your country is facing real security threats in its cities and in the Sinai, and at such a time, it is of critical importance that journalists are able to report freely without fear of imprisonment," the letter says.

Egypt has been battling an armed insurgency in the Sinai since the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was deposed in a military coup in July 2013, which has seen hundreds of police and army officials killed.

Morsi was forced to step down following a military coup and a crackdown on his supporters, including the bloody dispersal of sit-in protests at Cairo’s Rabaa and Nahda Squares which saw around 900 Muslim Brotherhood supporters killed.

Since then hundreds of Morsi supporters have been given death penalties or jail terms following often speedy mass trials.

Deposed president Mohamed Morsi is among those condemned to die.

TRTWorld and agencies