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Journalists' Syndicate head: Egyptian press facing crisis with the state

In an interview with Al-Monitor, head of the Journalists' Syndicate Yahya Qalash speaks of the syndicate’s problem with the state, the new media law and the media regulators law.
Journalists carry Yehia Kalash, head of the Egyptian press syndicate, during a protest against restrictions on the press and to demand the release of detained journalists, in front of the Egyptian Press Syndicate's headquarters in downtown Cairo, Egypt May 4, 2016. Picture taken May 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RTSSHQ9
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CAIRO — The Qasr al-Nile minor offenses court in Cairo issued on Nov. 19, 2016, a nonconclusive ruling sentencing the head of Egypt's Journalists' Syndicate, Yahya Qalash, and board members Gamal Abdel-Rahim and Khaled el-Balshy, to two years of hard labor in prison on charges of “harboring fugitives from justice” in the syndicate’s building. They must further pay 10,000 Egyptian pounds (roughly $530) to stay the execution.

The ruling, which observers characterized as unprecedented, caused a stir inside and outside the syndicate. The Egyptian government was harshly criticized by organizations advocating human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. On Nov. 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement calling on the Egyptian authorities to drop charges against Qalash, Abdel-Rahim and Balshy.

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