Egyptian Authorities Must End Clampdown on Press-AMDF

Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) condemns the arrest of Egyptian journalists – Hany Greisha and El-Sayed Shehta both editors of Al-Youm Al-Sabae (Youm7) a private news website in Egypt.

News source say security forces on August 26 stormed the home of Hany Greisha, arrested and charged him with “spreading false news, misusing social media, and joining a terrorist organization – the Muslim Brotherhood” and ordered his 15 days pretrial detention.

At a later date; August 30, 2020, his colleague El-Sayed Shehta who is the deputy managing editor of Youm7 was picked up by security in his home at Minya al-Qamh town, confiscating his mobile phone and, laptops, credit cards and several valuables.

Shehta was arrested despite the fact that his family had testified that he had tested positive to COVID-19, and was on self-isolation, it didn’t deter authorities from ordering his arrest.

In a report, Shehta’s wife explained how they were denied access to him when she learned that the security forces had transferred him to one of the police sites in Zagazig, before transferring him to Belbeis General Hospital, after he had fainted due to his deteriorating health.

In November 2019, Egyptian authorities arrested freelance journalist  Solafa Sallam, her photojournalist husband Hossam El-Sayyad, and a blogger – Mohamed Salah at a cafe in  Dokki area of Giza with charges of belonging to a banned group and spreading of false news. The three; Solaha Sallam, Hossam El-Sayyad and Mohammed Sallah have remained in custody since their arrests.

AMDF is deeply concerned about the growing attack on the media, the needless arrests of journalists and the outrageous charges against them. We fear for their safety and the danger they face in detention, especially after the death of a veteran journalist Mohammed Monir; Monir had contracted COVID-19 while in detention, and later died from complications.

As a media development organization with the mission to strengthen media, and promote democracy; we will continue to raise our voice against media attacks as we reiterate the fact that there is no democracy without freedom of the press.

We are calling on Egyptian authorities to  end the clamp down on the media, and ensure the release Greisha, Shehta, Sallam, Sayyad, Sallah and a host of other journalists who have been arrested and in detention because of their profession.

Authority must recognize and respect the indispensable  role of the press towards the development of the country and treat journalists with respect; media practitioners  carry out their duties without attack or fear for their safety.