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Egyptian rights organisations outraged over publication of advertisement "defaming the name and reputation" of Tunisian activist

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The following is a 30 December 2008 press release by ANHRI, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and other Egyptian human rights organisations:

Shame on Rosa Al Yousef:
Defamation of Tunisian journalist and human rights activist

Cairo, 30 December 2008

The undersigned Egyptian human rights organizations express outrage at the actions of Rosa Al Yousef, the pro-government daily newspaper, which yesterday published a quarter page advertisement defaming the name and reputation of journalist and human rights activist Siham Bensedrine. The advertisement was accompanied by a photo of the Tunisian president Zain El-Abedeen Ben Ali.

Publishing this Tunisian advertisement is another backward step for the newspaper, which has previously run stories celebrating fictional human rights achievements in the country. Yesterday's article, however, crossed the line in attacking a woman who is struggling along with her colleagues against Tunisia's brutal suppression machine. These are people who risk their lives and reputations exposing press freedom violations and human rights abuses in the country. Rosa Al Yousef contributes to their problems by printing such stories.

In a joint statement, we, the human rights organizations, said: "We are used to these campaigns and attacks being waged against us. However, what angers us is how they tarnish the name of a once great media institution that through the pioneering work of journalists such as Salah Hafiz, Kamil Zehairi and Hassan Fouad helped to create freedom of the press in Egypt. Now this newspaper is simply a tool to damage the reputations of brave journalists and activists and it is a crime that should be exposed."

The undersigned Egyptian human rights organizations request that the Supreme Council of the Press and the Journalists' Union's committee for promotion of a Journalism Honour Charter take action against this press crime committed by Rosa Al Yousef and condemn the publication of all such misleading information in the Egyptian press.

The Undersigned Organizations:
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement
Maat Center for Rights and Constitutional Studies
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
Arab Program for Human Rights Activists
Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue
Arab Foundation for Support of Civil Society and Human Rights
New Woman Foundation
Nadeem Center for Psychological Therapy and Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence
Egyptian Association against Torture
Arab Council for Support of Fair Trial
Center for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistance
Land Center for Human Rights
Association of Human Rights Legal Aid
Egyptian Association for the Support of Democratic Development
Egyptian Center for Development and Democratic Studies
Al-Hilali Foundation for Freedoms
Foundation for Freedom of Thought and Expression

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