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28th October 2009

On Tuesday 27th October, Al Dokki court sentenced its judgment in absentia of one year and prison and a bail of 200 EGP with stay of execution against both the journalist Salama Ahmed Salama the chief editor of Al Shorouk Newspaper and the journalist Saber Mashhour as the later published a report dated 30th March 2009 tackling some corruption incidents in the project of “Ibni Baytak” (Build Your House) affiliated to the ministry of housing.

Although the judgment is appealable, yet what is notable is that resorting to judiciary has become the first steps to correct news and respond them; the matter which assures the absence of tolerance value towards what is published by newspapers especially as investigations tackled a public affairs and an issue which concerns a wide range of citizens. In addition, the journalist did not exceed his role as a journalist which is to raise issues and problems to solve it by the officials.

The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, calls the journalists syndicate to intervene immediately. It also calls the civil society organizations to be in solidarity with journalists as freedom of press has become in danger and threatened by judicial and legal risks. Mr. Said Abd Al Hafez, the chairperson of the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, has declared that he expected more of judgments against journalists in the coming period exploiting what is being planned for the Egyptian press to show it with the appearance of exceeding and chaos in addition to violating the private life of citizens; the matter which should be confronted and put the burden and responsibility of defending press role on the shoulders of the syndicate of journalists as being the neutral and impartial mediator to express concerns and problems of citizens and society.

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Marwa Ali Al-Sharbini

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