Mrs. Audrey Azoulay – Director-General of UNESCO,
We are a group of human rights organizations concerned with monitoring and following up the human rights situation in Egypt;
We send you our greetings on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2020, under the theme of “Journalism without Fear or Favour”, calling for awareness on specific issues about the safety of journalists, their independence from political or commercial influence, and gender equality in all aspects of the media.
The Windhoek Declaration states that freedom of the press can only be achieved by ensuring a free, independent, and pluralistic media environment, which is a precondition for ensuring the safety of journalists in the performance of their duties, and to ensure that crimes against press freedom are promptly and accurately investigated.
Nevertheless, the press and journalists in Egypt suffer from many restrictions, the most important of which is that the journalistic and media practice is carried out without freedom and without pluralism.
There are quite a few journalists in Egypt are either killed or prisoned, since seven years ago, until now, more than 60 journalists are still in the Egyptian prisons, most notably: Sulafa Magdy, Israa Abdel-Fattah, Aya Mohamed Hamid, Hossam Al-Sayyad, Mohamed Salah,Ahmed Sobai, Ahmed Abozaid, The list also includes:
– Journalist / Magdi Hussein – Editor-in-Chief of the Egyptian newspaper “Istiklal”.
– Journalist / Mohsen Radi – former member of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate.
– Journalist / Mahmoud Hussein – a journalist in Al-Jazeera News Channel.
– Researcher / Ismail Al-Iskandarani – a specialist in Islamic movements.
Those and others inside the Egyptian prisons, who are being held in pretrial detention, suffer from the injustice of persecution and political abuse, as well as suffering from poor health and medical services and overcrowding in the cells.
This suffering, and in light of the spread of the epidemic of “the new Coronavirus – Covid 19”, their lives became threatened if being infected with it inside prisons.
In order to save these people and others, we call on UNESCO to urgently intervene to urge the Egyptian government to release journalists and media workers, or issue a decision to pardon them, in order to protect them from the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
Best regards and sincere thanks …
El-Shehab Center for Human Rights-SHR – London
Justice for Human Rights Foundation-JHR- Istanbul
Salam International Organization for the Protection of Human Rights – SPH – London
3rd May, 2020