Sunday, February 26, 2006

Freedom of Press Compromised in Egypt among Others

A law was passed in 1996 that stipulates custodial sentences of up to two years for journalists convicted of defamation. A bill has been waiting for two years now to be passed by parliament to annul the 1996 law, but looks like this new bill will have to wait forever.

Freedom of the press was among corners of the Egyptian state that was promised freedom but apparently only for the show off and empty promises.

An Egyptian appeals court has upheld a one-year prison sentence given to a journalist convicted of libelling the country's former environment minister.

The three journalists had published a report in 2004 saying the minister's house had been searched in a corruption probe and that he had been suspended.

President Hosni Mubarak had promised to scrap the law in 2004, but parliament has not yet approved the change. The Committee to Protect Journalists also sent an open letter to the president criticising him for not acting on his promise.

On the other hand, Egypt's minister of information Anas al-Fiqi said that the President's promise not to send journalists to jail on publishing related issue is still valid. He said a draft bill in this regard is ready to be submitted to People's Assembly.

Other Unfulfilled Promises:
Jurisdiction Independence Promise is Denied
Local/Municipal Elections Postponed for Two Years

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