While people around the world celebrate World Press Freedom Day, we are racing to cover the systematic violations of press freedoms and journalists’ rights, along with the few remaining institutions in Egypt that still defend these freedoms.
In recent years, we have sometimes felt alone in our struggle to create a space to facilitate free journalism; an independent, accountable and critical practice. We felt less alone when newborn independent media organizations began emerging, and with journalists in major media institutions pushing boundaries and confronting continual attempts to stifle their work.
We have also felt less isolated when the Journalists Syndicate stood up in defense of journalists’ rights, and when it decried violations of press freedoms perpetrated by Egypt’s authorities.
We belong to this syndicate, whether through official membership, or through an affinity with an organized body with which we have a mutual desire to defend and uphold our professional rights and freedom of expression in general.
Today, we do not only stand in solidarity with the Journalists Syndicate in its position against the Interior Ministry’s unprecedented raid on its headquarters on May 1. Instead, we consider ourselves part of this confrontation. This incident is the most recent violation in a long list of consistent breaches by police and the justice system against journalists – including arrests, trials, and various other manifestations of censorship.
We consider ourselves part of this confrontation and part of the syndicate’s struggle, reiterating our full support of the syndicate’s active role in defending the rights of journalists and not merely providing technical and material assistance.
A strong government should not fear a free and independent media.