Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Egypt: Government Launches New Daily

As reported by Adnki online, Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) released the first issue of a new daily newspaper, the Al-Watani Al-Yom. A letter from Hosni Mubarak, published in this first edition, confirmed that the new daily will aid in the growth of freedom of expression.

The launching of Mubarak’s party sponsored newspaper comes one day after parliament passed a new press freedom law, which many independent journalist have been protesting the past couple of weeks. The law legalizes the imprisonment of journalists who write insults of public officials.

According to this piece,

“Top rights group Human Rights Watch on Tuesday criticised the newly amended press law ‘which mandates prison sentences for insulting public officials in the media, and still has numerous restrictions on press freedom that clearly violate international standards.’

“HRW also slated remaining provisions in the law that criminalise insults to the resident of a foreign heads of states - punishable by 6-60 months in prison or fines ranging form 870-5,220 dollars.

“Ibrahim Issa, editor of the popular opposition weekly al-Dustur, who was last month sentenced to one year in jail for “insulting the president” and “spreading false or tendentious rumours,” described Egypt''s Penal Code as ‘a minefield for journalists.’”

“In 2004, Mubarak pledged that no journalist in Egypt would go to prison solely for what they write.”

To read this article in full, click here


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