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IPA defends publishers against accusations from military government

(IPA/IFEX) - Geneva, 22 December 2011 - The International Publishers Association (IPA) calls on the government of Egypt to stop attacking Egyptian publishers who are exercising their civil rights.

In a recent press conference the Egyptian military rulers accused the publisher and member of the Egyptian Publishers Association (EPA), Mohamed Hashem of the publishing house Dar Merit, of unlawfully supporting demonstrators in Tahrir square. Since then a number of organisations within and outside of Egypt have expressed their support for the publisher.

The IPA would like to remind the transitional government of Egypt of the values that the international publishing community shares with EPA and its members, including Mohamed Hashem, and that are included in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the joint IPA-EPA freedom to publish declaration of 10 February 2011:

• Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression;
• Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
• Everyone has the right to support others that are exercising these rights.

In their 10 February joint declaration, IPA and EPA urged the Egyptian transitional authorities to "protect Egyptian and foreign journalists, photographers, writers and publishers and publishing houses in the exercise of their work".

Says IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel: "IPA stands in solidarity with the Egyptian Publishers Association in condemning the way the publisher Mohamed Hashem is being attacked and calls on the Egyptian transitional authorities to respect its international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)".

"IPA condemns any government accusations that imply wrongdoing where a publisher, through his publishing activities or otherwise, contributes peacefully to the democratic process in his country."

"The rule of law requires that public authorities refrain from using press conferences as a substitute for the independent legal process that is the only process to address alleged wrongdoings by citizens."

Click here for the 10 February 2011 joint IPA-EPA declaration

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