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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Editors-in-chief of blocked websites hold press conference

Editors of blocked websites hold press conference: Editors-in-chief from some of the 21 websites blocked by the Ismail government for allegedly spreading fake news or being pro-terror condemned the ban at a press conference held at the Press Syndicate yesterday, Daily News Egypt reports. In a statement yesterday neither supporting nor condemning the ban, the Press Syndicate said it will continue to support journalists’ right to freedom of expression and opinion, but added that it must also take into consideration the interests of the state. The tepid statement also said the syndicate will work to solve the issue and stressed that it has been “transparent” about the situation from the beginning. The statement highlights apparent rifts within the syndicate’s board, after four board members publicly condemned the ban as unconstitutional and called on syndicate head Abdel Mohsen Salama to hold a meeting to discuss it.

Publishers of the blocked websites have reportedly lodged a complaint with the Prosecutor General and are also planning to file suit against the CIT Minister for imposing the ban without a court order, Press Syndicate board member Mohamed Abdel Hafiz said, Al Mal reports.

The state’s Supreme Media Council announced at a separate press conference yesterday that it has received complaints from six of the affected websites, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Three of the complaints are from Al Borsa, Daily News Egypt, and Al Mesryoon, whose assets have been frozen over alleged connections to the Ikhwan, council head Mohamed Makram Ahmed said. A subcommittee will be formed to look into the complaints from the remaining three websites — Mada Masr, Masr Al Arabia, and Al Qahera — on Sunday.

The suspenders tighten: In other news from our dysfunctional fourth estate, the Supreme Media Council is apparently mulling whether to file a complaint with the Prosecutor General against firebrand journalist and former television host Ibrahim Eissa on the grounds that he has been provoking sectarian strife with his newspaper, Al Maqal, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

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