Rights Center Calls for Immediate Probe Into Assaults Against Journalists at Mansoura Hospital
Rights Center Calls for Immediate Probe Into Assaults Against Journalists at Mansoura Hospital
Saturday, September 20,2008 20:22

Maat Center for Rights and Constitutional Studies has called on Egypt’s Prosecutor General and Minister of Higher Education to immediately investigate into the assaults that took place against journalists at the Nile Delta Mansoura University Hospital.

The center said it received complaints from many reporters at the governorate of Daqahliah asserting that the hospital’s security made inroads upon them. They accused the university head of neglecting investigations of such an incident in which two of them were about to pass away due to the reckless hasty car of the head who neglected their sit-in against maltreatment.

Journalists working for Al-Arabi Al-Nasseri, Al-Wafd, Sawt Al-Ummah, Al-Badeel, and Al-Masry Al-Youm have filed complaint no. 24181, misdemeanors at Mansoura police station on September 8, 2008. Further, their fellow journalist Suzan Mohamed Salah who was held for treatment at the hospital has been expelled out of the hospital though being in desperate need for three surgeries. She was thrown out for nothing but being a journalist, same like those assaulted that time.

Emergency department stores at the hospital have witnessed a blaze. However, hospital security personnel and police forces have closed gates and prevented the access of the journalists to the place to cover the incident’s reasons and consequences. Moreover, they were encroached upon regardless of being females or males.

Maat Center sees such incident as a continuation of assaults against journalists that mounted to its worst status on May 25, 2005 during referendum of article 76 of the Egyptian constitution. Such practices tarnish Egypt’s image before the entire world indicating lowest level of media freedoms.”

The center added that journalists and media figures should have their freedoms and dignity venerated under the endorsement of all international charters and constitution that consider journalism the “fourth estate” and the “popular surveillance authority.”

The second and third clause of article no. 29 f the Universal Declaration of Human Rights assert “nobody shall be subject to restrictions, in enjoying their freedoms and rights, except those prescribed by law aiming at exclusively ensuring the acknowledgement and respect of others’ freedoms and rights as well as fairly attain virtues, public system, and welfare of the people in a democratic society. None of these rights may be performed against the UN objectives and principles”.

First and second clauses of article 6 of the Human Rights Advocates’ Declaration in December 1998 stipulate “everyone may individually or congregationally know the information relating to all human rights and basic rights. They may demand, obtain, maintain such information including reading the means of such freedoms and rights in local legislative, judicial, or administrative systems. They should have sufficient freedom to propagate such information and data relating to human rights or basic rights…” the center added.

Maat Center said such clauses are applicable to journalism and media rights confirmed by the UN Declaration/ UNESCO in Sanaa in 1966 stipulating the independence and variety of mass media, the 1991 Windhock Declaration on Press Freedom in 1991, Almata in 1992, Santiago in 1994, European Human Rights Declaration, and the African and Arab Human Rights declaration.

The center criticized the government violations of opinion profession through assaulting journalists or even attracting them to camouflage the people. Any democratic government should bring into account all violating officials, the center said.