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EOHR and ANHRI hold workshop on media in post-revolutionary transition

(EOHR/IFEX) - 15 November 2011 - EOHR and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) held a "Media Performance Enhancement" workshop aimed at reinforcing the fairness and transparency of media coverage in the transitional phase after the Egyptian revolution, in addition to cementing cooperation and integration of both the civil society organizations and the media. The participants discussed standards of fairness and transparency in media coverage.

Mr. Ahmed Abdel Hafez, the vice president of EOHR, stressed the significance of the role played by media in the transitional phase. He also stated that free access to information is one of the main components of freedom of expression. He called for reconsidering the laws regulating the press: the Egyptian criminal law includes many articles that limit journalistic freedom, and overall diminish the margin of free expression.

Mahmoud Abdel Fattah, the ANHRI representative, stated that the workshop is aimed at discussing the ideas of media coverage enhancement in attendance of media specialists, judges and public figures in order to identify the problems and propose solutions to the current media coverage of political affairs after the revolution.

Mr. Saad Hagras, the editor in chief of Al Alam Al Youm Newspaper, said that the Egyptian media suffers many serious problems related to its media leaders, as well as its political, professional, administrative and legislative dimensions. He called for an "ideal behavior declaration," to be issued by the Journalist Syndicate, in addition to a review of the syndicate law, rules and membership. According to Hagras, the media situation in Egypt has not changed following the revolution. Many obstacles remain for those looking to launch newspapers. Moreover, 18 articles in Egyptian law stipulate sanctions of sending journalists to prison in connection with publishing charges.

Khalid Al Balshi, the editor in chief of Al Badil News Website, stated that the media suffers severe problems even after the Egyptian revolution. He stressed the need to emphasize the interconnectedness of the media, judiciary and the Egyptian people; "judges are not the enemies of Egyptian journalists". He criticised the absence of an access to information law that would enable journalists to write stories of public interest, instead of the tendency to publish tabloid-like rumors such as news of Mubarak's travel outside Egypt after the revolution, which was published on the pages of four different Egyptian newspapers.

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During the workshop, EOHR and ANHRI discussed their fourth report on media coverage of elections, political parties, the judiciary and the SCAF in Egypt during October 2011, in order to identify the problems with the coverage and propose appropriate and comprehensive solutions.

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