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Egyptian government announces new sanctions on satellite television channels

(EOHR/IFEX) - 6 August 2012 - The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expressed serious concern about an announcement made by Minister of Investment Osama Salah about satellite television channels throughout the country.

The Minister has put into place a punitive system that includes issuing warnings, notices, suspensions, and ultimately the revoking of licenses when deemed necessary. With a full understanding of the implications of such an endeavor, EOHR considers this a strong indication of a serious decline in the status of freedom of opinion, expression, and the press under the new presidential regime.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, President of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, affirms that the issuing of such a warning to impose strict sanctions on Egyptian satellite channels is inappropriate and contradictory to the nature of the current post-revolutionary period.

Dependent upon the enhancement and effective promotion of freedom of opinion and expression, this phase must not be hindered by regressive measures. The imposition of such sanctions on media outlets is not only a hindrance to the progression of our nation, but a serious contradiction to the promises made by President Morsi to preserve and promote freedom of opinion and expression to the extent that they would be enshrined within the new Constitution.

It is in light of this regressive contradiction that the EOHR calls upon the Egyptian authorities to alter their policies as regards freedom of opinion and expression and the right to the open exchange of information, especially within the post-revolutionary era. The EOHR also calls upon the authorities to put an end to its policy of direct censorship that remains an outdated relic of the previous regime. The practices of the old regime included storming into satellite channel headquarters, threatening to shut down media outlets and revoking their licenses. Also, prosecuting activists and bloggers alike are not practices that can be tolerated in any capacity during this period of constructive change. It is in this regard that EOHR calls upon President Morsi and the Egyptian Government to adopt an effective strategy towards the promotion of the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, and the press. Any policies that would hinder such core values and rights, such as the imposition of the sanctions expressed by the Minister of Investment, would be a detrimental set back to the human rights situation in Egypt.
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