On World Press Freedom Day, the Journalists for Reform (JFR) movement called on the journalists' union, media associations and main players in union and media circles to take internal action to correct the course and close ranks, to support professional credibility and objectivity as well as trade union rights, to put an end to score-settling and the attempts to clean up the image of the former regime, and to stop the crimes of discrimination.
JFR paid tribute to all those who stood firm in the face of temptation and harassment to defend, with dedication and awareness, the honorable mission and professional code of ethics of the press at a time of overwhelming political strife.
On this occasion, JFR also paid a tribute of respect and appreciation to icons of journalism who suffered and sacrificed, like the martyrs Ahmed Mahmoud and Al-Husseini Abu-Deif; and injured heroes Mohamed Almishtawi, Mustafa Al-Khatib, and Ibrahim Al-Masry; as well as Dr. Ahmed Gaafar, the innocent Egyptian journalist detained in the UAE; Subaie Ahmed, director of Al-Aqsa TV office in Cairo; Sherif Mansour, presenter in Misr 25 tv channel, and others who have been afflicted by injustice.
According to Hassan Elkabany, JFR coordinator and one of the young journalists of the Muslim Brotherhood, JFR pointed that targeting media institutions was an unfortunate phenomenon in last months, impacting many print and broadcast media outlets. That included the burning of Al-Jazeera Live Egypt (satellite TV channel) office, and the complete destruction of the Ikhwanonline office, as well as targeting headquarters of the ‘Freedom and Justice’, Wafd party and Watan newspapers, and also targeting and threatening journalists, like Qutb Al-Araby, Khaled Salah, Hani Salah-el-Din Magdy Abdel-Latif and dozens of young journalists.
JFR further pointed that young journalists still suffer the most, with the journalists' union failing to play its designated role, which led to drastic assaults on their rights in newspapers such as Al-Sabah, Al-Dostour, Al-Tahrir and Nahdat Misr, with a total lack of internal accountability within the union for those responsible, like Ibrahim Issa, Wael Ibrashi and Imad-el-Din Adeeb.
JFR also mentioned that, although Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi made two important initiatives since he took office, releasing from custody a fellow journalist and dropping libel and abuse cases against others, JFR still believes that the new Constitution must be implemented, and that the upcoming House of Representatives must pass necessary laws to help improve the press and the media.
JFR demanded that the council of journalists’ syndicate must announce a definite course of action to exact retribution for the martyrs Ahmed Mahmoud and Al-Husseini Abu-Deif, to support and honor injured journalists, and to secure the release of the Egyptian journalist detained in the UAE. It also hoped for an end to score-settling and discrimination, and demanded that the council take a strong corrective position towards justice Ahmed Al-Zind, who has the largest share of legal complaints against journalists and media workers since the revolution.