Press Syndicate Council members reject website block

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Members​ of the Press Syndicate Council released a statement on Monday, expressing full rejection of the recent block of a number of Egyptian news websites by security institutions.

Council members Gamal Abdel Rahim, Amr Badr, Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafiz, and Mahmoud Kamal, who all signed the statement, depicted the decision to block the websites as unconstitutional and therefore illegal.

The members continued to point out that the block of Egyptian websites, which have printed issues licensed by the Supreme Press Council and work in accordance with laws ratified by the state, clearly reveals that there is a campaign targeting newspapers with the aim of repression.

They requested an urgent meeting last Saturday, but they did not receive any response from the council’s leadership. They regarded this as a violation of the regulations of the syndicate as they waited for the head of the syndicate to hold the meeting and discuss the crisis.

However, the council members now instead are to hold a meeting on Wednesday with the journalists affected by the block.

The statement stated that due to the measures, hundreds of journalists would lose their incomes, and in solidarity with those journalists, they announced their rejection of the block.

On 24 May, media outlets reported that 22 websites were blocked. The block was targeting Qatari news websites, such as Al-Jazeera, but also extended to the websites of Egyptian media outlets, including Daily News Egypt, Al-Borsa, and Mada Masr—the latter of which is by now accessible again.

The blocking of Qatari news websites allegedly was a response to reportedly fabricated statements made by the Emir of Qatar and published on the Qatari News Agency. It was not, however, explained how Egyptian websites ended up on the blocked list.

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