World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Egypt, 6 February 2015

Protest Campaign - Egypt, 6 February 2015

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His Excellency President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

President of Egypt

Cairo, Egypt


6 February 2015



Your Excellency,


We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to call on you to release all journalists detained in Egypt.

While welcoming the deportation of Australian journalist Peter Greste back to his home country, we remain deeply concerned at the continued detention of his Al Jazeera colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and at least nine other journalists.

Arrested on 29 December 2013, Mr. Greste served 400 days in detention before being released under a November 2014 presidential decree in which the head of state “may agree to deliver the defendants and transfer the sentenced to their own countries, either for their trial or the execution of their sentence.” We urge you to ensure that his Al Jazeera colleague Mr. Fahmy, who holds dual Canadian-Egyptian nationality, is quickly deported under the same decree.

However, we remain seriously concerned at the fate of Mr. Mohamed and at least nine other Egyptian journalists who remain in jail. Independent media in Egypt have come under intense pressure in recent months to support government policy and defence initiatives. Criticism from mainstream media has been heavily muted under widespread, popular calls for national unity in the face of mounting security and economic challenges.

The wider climate for freedom of expression is also alarming with figures suggesting that anywhere between 16,000 and 40,000 political prisoners remain in jail in Egypt.

We respectfully remind you that detaining journalists for carrying out their profession constitutes a clear breach of the fundamental right of freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.”

We call on you to ensure that Mr. Fahmy, Mr. Mohamed and all other journalists detained in Egypt are immediately released and that charges against them are dropped. We urge you to recognise the importance of a free press and to take all necessary steps to end media intimidation so that your country may fully respect its international obligations to freedom of expression.


We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Yours sincerely,

Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Erik Bjerager
World Editors Forum


WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2015-02-06 14:43

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...