CPJ condemns escalating journalists detentions in Egypt

An international journalists group has condemned rising detentions of journalists in Egypt that have been coupled with government plans to adopt an anti-terrorism law deemed by local journalists as imposing confinement on their profession.
The new law allows authorities to detain journalists for a minimum of two years in prison if they publish information that conflicts with official government statements regarding anti-terrorism operations.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday Egyptian authorities arrested four journalists on duty last week. One of them, photojournalist Wagdy Khaled, was arrested while taking photos outside the Omar Makram Mosque in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square. He is facing charges of affiliation with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
The other three were covering the arrival of the bodies of nine Muslim Brotherhood members who had been killed in a security raid which raised ire with Brotherhood backers who accused police of killing them unarmed.
According to the CPJ census, at least 18 journalists were in prison on June 1, mainly over accusations of affiliation with the Brotherhood.
“The crackdown on the press is deepening at a time when the public needs independent reporting on the security threats that Egypt is facing," CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said. "We call on the authorities to release these journalists immediately and drop all charges against them."
The CPJ maintains Egypt among the world’s biggest jailers of journalists.

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