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Egypt journalists refrain from criticizing state

A number of Egyptian editors issued a statement in which they pledged not to criticize the state's institutions, which some consider a nationalization of the media in Egypt by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Protesters rally in support of Al Jazeera journalists Abdullah al-Shami and Mohammed Sultan, who were detained by Egyptian authorities, in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo, June 1, 2014. According to Al Jazeera's website, the two journalists have been in detention since August last year for providing information to the Muslim Brotherhood. The government has declared the Brotherhood a "terrorist group". The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful organisation. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany (EGYPT - Tags: POLIT
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Despite the absence of an opposing voice in the Egyptian media, fears have increased within media circles after a meeting was held for editors of 17 daily newspapers, both private and state-owned, as well as the head of the Journalists Syndicate. Following the meeting, they issued a statement on Oct. 26 in which they pledged not to criticize state institutions. However, there are still attempts at “resistance” by some journalists who continue to seek freedom of expression.

After the attacks in the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 24, the heads of 17 private and state-owned daily newspapers signed the statement in which they reiterated their “rejection of attempts to discredit state institutions in its basic choices or insulting the army, the police or the judiciary, which reflects negatively on the performance of these institutions.” It added, “The audience is committed to stopping the publication of the data that supports terrorism and calls to undermine state institutions, both directly or indirectly,” which was considered by Journalists Syndicate member Khaled al-Balshi as a step toward the “nationalization of the press at the hands of its owners and an attempt to exclude other opinions.”

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