Violations of media freedoms during 2016 (Annual Report)


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Journalists against torture

Journalists against torture is an observatory for the freedom of media and press to defend this right as a part of defending the right of speech as an essential right. In additional to enhancing human rights concerning journalists that should be considered as prophets of change in society.

As a result of matters of security and political restrictions, the arbitrary measurements and the interventions of the political actors in media and press, journalists against torture observatory started to put the highlights of its work. It started with a group of Egyptian journalists in November 2013, since then the observatory decided to take the responsibility to defend media and press freedom and to enhance the free practice of press and media in Egypt through a network of volunteering journalists. By time the observatory became one of the main references to the violations against journalists and a reference to give hand to improve the environment of the press and media generally.

The observatory works according to the international measurements of human rights and the constitutional and legal Egyptian framework with the full respect of all the conventional measurements of the profession of press and media committing to support journalists regardless their affiliations, religions, ideologies or any other adjectives used for discrimination.  فا any other ligions  ideologiess their national measurements of human rights and the constitutioanl

Introduction

Another year has passed and the violations against the Egyptian press and media means hadn’t decreased. We monitored and cited 727 violations in 2016 while we monitored a very close number in 2015 that witnessed 720 violations, this indicates that the violations didn’t draw back and that there weren’t any reforms concerning the media and press situation in Egypt. But we can say that the nature of violations this year was much more aggressive as the prison sentences against journalists increased this year in comparison with the last year and for the first time the security troops broke in the journalists Syndicate and the situation aggravated the much that they besieged the Syndicate committing violations to journalists intentionally and the court sentenced the head “qallash”, “khaled al-balshy” and “gmal abdel rehim” to two years in prison and 10,000 for each of them to suspend the implementation of the sentence. Another reason of the aggressiveness of the violations this year that the violation of preventing from coverage and deleting the content of the camera was listed at the top of violations but most of them came as a mass violations to many journalists at once. Also the judicial bodies as an aggressor actor was the second after the interior ministry and this aggressive existence of the judicial bodies is Unprecedented. This all is presented by numbers and analysis in the full report.
one of the most important indicators to media and press freedom is the number of the jailed journalists so we represent in the full report the jailed journalists and their accusations especially those were jailed for their opinion and publications. We also represent the prison sentences issued this year and the evaluation of their path.
we can’t deny that the Egyptian legislative structure concerning media and press has witnessed improvement thanks to issuing the law of “the institutional systematization of media and press” as the first step towards the correctness of the regressive status of media and press in Egypt. But this law didn’t meet the aspirations of people working in media and press and the journalists Syndicate because of some articles that keep the regressive situation or may worse, in the full report we represent these articles with its reflections and how it would shape the press and media.
there were aspirations to issue the law to prevent journalists getting jailed because of publications issues and the law of “the right to access information” especially because that the violation of the preventing press coverage is the most occurring one. In the full report we show how the three authorities disrespect this right.
at the end after we show the real full image of the press and media in Egypt and the regressive dealing with the freedom of media and press that makes no wonder why Egypt is comes at the back of the list of annual classification of media freedom made by “reporters without borders” as Egypt came at the rank of 159 out of 180 countries. That indicates that the authorities should give more attention to reform this situation as no country would improve without media and press freedom that should be considered as the forth authority.

The most prominent violations against media and press in 2016

*727 violations against journalists in 2016.

*the security forces stormed the Journalists Syndicate Unprecedentedly.

*April witnessed unprecedented number of violations, 213 violations against journalists only in April  while  the press coverage of the protests objecting the sovereign transfer of two Egyptian  islands ,Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.

*315 mass violations ,which occurred to many journalists together and has been cited as one violation.

*preventing press coverage or deleting the content of the camera is the most occurring violation in 2016 for the second year. 267 cases of preventing press coverage, 231 of them were mass violations.

*great increase in the number of prison sentences in 2016 in comparison with 2015. 16 cases of prison sentence in 2016 while 2015 witnessed 9cases.

*11 gag orders.

*93 cases of insults and threat,90 cases of beating or wounding assault, 57 cases of illegal immobilization,  38 cases of arresting and accusation, 31 cases of  prosecution by submitting complaints and minutes, 28 cases of immobilization and detention for investigation, 17 cases of imposing fines, 14 cases of acquisition of press equipment by the police, 12 cases of beating assault inside a place of detention, 9 cases of acquisition of press equipment, 9 cases of damaging and burning press equipment, 8 cases of preventing broadcast, 5 judicial verdicts of imposing financial warranty, 5 cases of preventing entering the journalists syndicate, 4 cases of storming headquarters of press institutions, 3 cases of preventing publication, 3 cases of releasing with financial warranty, 2 cases of verbal or physical harassment, 2 cases of preventing travel, one case of administrative  punitive investigation and one case of preventing entering the country.

*the interior ministry was the most actor that committed violations against journalists as usual. They committed 309 violations on their own.

*the violations committed by judicial bodies increased incredibly this year, as they came in the second place at the list of aggressors with 144 violations in 2016 although it had been 23 in 2015 and just 2 violations in 2014.

*126 violations by civilians, 74 violations by governmental organizations and officials, 65 violations by private security officials and 9 violations by press institutions.

*63% from the violations took place in Cairo with 454 violations, 145 violations occurred in Giza and 20 violations in Alex. All the governorates witnessed violations except South Sinai, Matrouh, Hurghada and Sohag.

*the Egyptian private newspapers were the most vulnerable to violations, they were victims of 161 violations.

*the second victim was network news and electronic newspapers with 84 violations, then Egyptian private channels came at the third place with 60 violations, 21 violation against Egyptian governmental newspapers, 14 violations against public Syndicates, 13 violations against Egyptian partisan newspapers, 13 violations against foreign newspapers,9 violations against foreign channels and 5 violations against Egyptians governmental channels.

*the photographer was the most specialization in press that was vulnerable to violations as they were victim of 155 violations, then came the editor with 71 violations, then the reporter with 61 violations, then the journalists with  54 violations, 38 executives were violated, 21 broadcasters, 3 writers and one cartoonist.

*males were violated six times more than females. 354 violations against men verses 58 violations against females.

*21 foreign journalists were violated in 2016.

Recommendations

1- including the six journalists sentenced to prison among the next presidential pardon.

2- releasing the 13 journalists that are detained preventively and taking another preventive measurements.

3- quick legislative amendment to prevent imprisonment of journalists concerning publication issues.

4- stop targeting press reporters, photographers and journalists and give the responsibility of protecting them and their equipment while doing their job to the security forces.

5- stop the three authorities from preventing press coverage and to respect the right of the press coverage of public matters.

6- submitting complaints and minutes when any journalist are violated while doing their job to let the authority investigate and issuing law.

7- issuing the law of ” the right to access information” that was mentioned in the constitution.

8- legislative amendment in the law of the Journalists Syndicate to include all the journalists working in press even in the electronic press not to be accused of ” impersonating of journalist”.

9- activating the constitutional articles concerning the freedom of speech and improving the Egyptian  legislative structure to implement these articles.

10- re-opening the cases of the ten murdered journalists scince 25th January revolution to punish the guilty.
هةt to be accused of ” press s working in press te and issuing law.
hem came as a mass violations to many journalists at once.

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