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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Interior Ministry mistakenly emails journalists a copy of its plan to contain the “journalist crisis”

Admit it, you’ve done something similar at some point in your career: The Interior Ministry mistakenly emailed journalists a copy of its plan to “handle the Press Syndicate crisis” yesterday before sending a follow up email noting a “technical error,” AMAY reports. Ministry sources said the email was meant to be sent to Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar from the media department for approval. Excerpts from the email show the ministry planned to sway public opinion against the journalists and syndicate using “carefully selected experts.” Among the planks of the program: Claiming syndicate leaders had committed a crime by sheltering leftist journalists Amr Badr and Mahmoud El Sakka, who were arrested in a raid on the syndicate’s headquarters on Sunday.

The Interior Ministry raid to arrest Badr and El Sakka was made on the basis of valid prosecutor’s warrants, Shorouk News reports the Prosecutor General’s Office as having said yesterday. The prosecutor’s office has also imposed a gag order banning coverage of the details of the arrest and investigation, AMAY reports. The prosecution also warned that the syndicate’s leadership would face legal consequences if it was determined they gave Badr and El Sakka sanctuary at the Press Syndicate HQ despite knowing they were the subject of arrest warrants. The Press Syndicate will discuss a media blackout in response to the gag order during its Wednesday general assembly, said its deputy head Khalid Al Balshy. The general assembly will also discuss staging a weeklong protest, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

A number of political parties have declared their solidarity with the Press Syndicate in their ongoing sit in, condemning the Interior Ministry’s actions as a violation of the constitution and calling for the Interior Minister to resign. These calls have been coming from the leadership of the Egyptian Democratic Coalition, the Nour Party, the National Movement party headed by Ahmed Shafiq, and the Dostor Party, according to Al Shorouk. Former presidential nominee and head of the Popular Front Hamdeen Sabbahy lent his voice to these calls and demanded an apology from the presidency, Al Shorouk reports. The Interior Ministry continued its “siege” of the journalists’ headquarters, preventing leaders of political parties and unions from entering the building, Al Mal reports.

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