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Seven Egypt State TV employees summoned for investigation

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the summoning of seven of Egypt's State TV employees for investigations due to their solidarity with the “Revolutionaries All The Way” TV program which was suspended on 5 March 2014.

Three of the seven media professionals summoned by the State TV's department of legal affairs on 31 March work for the "Revolutionaries All The Way" program, the rest had expressed solidarity with the program after it was suspended. They were interrogated over accusations of protesting in front of the Minister of Information's office as well as distributing pamphlets criticizing her.

Those summoned for investigation are: General Manager of Al-Akhbar Somayia Al-Shenawi, Revolutionaries All The Way Program Presenter Essam Said and Program Anchor Heba Azz Al-Arab, Program Director Hanaa Mostafa, as well as Abdul Latif Abu Hmeleh, Ali Abu Hmeleh and Suad Shoaib.

Their court hearings were supposed to take place on 22 and 23 April but they all agreed not to attend.

In regards to the protest in question, which took place on 20 March, the media professionals have stated that they did notify the Boulaq police station in advance of the protest in compliance with Egypt's protest law, which required a prior notice to be placed with the authorities in request of a permit. However, the police station verbally refused to grant their request, and security guards at Maspero - where the protest was being staged - refused to give them consent.

In a related issue, the head of the regional channels at the Egyptian Radio and Television Union had issued a decision to shoot the program's episodes in advance and send them to the censorship board for approval. When the program's management refused to accept that demand, their program was suspended.

"Revolutionaries all the Way" is not the first program to be suspended in Maspero. Upon the Minister of Information's decree, Ahmed Mosa's "Om El Donia" program aired on Radio Masr radio station was suspended on 29 March. This occurred after Mosa had criticized the Egyptian State TV's coverage of Egypt's upcoming presidential elections.

"The summoning of seven media professionals for investigation because of their solidarity with a certain program constitutes a clear violation of freedom of expression," said ANHRI. "It also reflects the lack of intent to comply with the freedoms stipulated in the last constitution. Media professionals' interrogation proves that the policies followed by Egyptian TV's officials have not changed, and that they are the same as during Mubarak's era. Such policies target whoever opposes, or tries to go beyond the pro-government policy line or the red lines set by the censorship board."

ANHRI calls on the Minister of Information Dorreya Sharaf El-Din to respect her position and the country's commitment to freedom of expression. The network also demands that investigations against the seven media professionals be halted and for the program "Revolutionaries All The Way" to be broadcast again.

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