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Amnesty Publishes Report on Egyptian Media Clampdown

Men wearing protective face masks are seen in downtown Cairo, Egypt, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), May 2, 2020.

Sunday is World Press Freedom Day and a global human rights group has marked the observance by publishing an overview of Egypt’s assault on journalists and other media workers.

Amnesty International said in its report that “This clampdown on media not only violates journalists’ right to freedom of expression, but also the general public’s access to independent information . . . Guaranteeing freedom of expression and access to reliable information is even more critical during the COVID-19 health emergency, in order to build public trust and fight misinformation.”

Amnesty said Egyptian security forces arrested a journalist in March because he questioned, on his personal Facebook page, the country’s official COVID-19 statistics.

Amnesty said the journalist was held for nearly a month at an undisclosed location without any contact with the outside world. Afterwards, he faced charges of “spreading false news’ and “joining a terrorist organization.”

Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director said, “Since 2016, the authorities in Egypt have subjected dozens of journalists and other media workers to a catalogue of violations just for doing their jobs or expressing their views.”

Egyptian official had no immediate reaction to the report.