London-based NGO condemns treatment of journalists in Egypt

Gonzalez speculates the treatment stems out of his paper’s critical coverage of Egyptian President Abdelfattah el-Sisi. (Photo courtesy: ricardgonzalez.wordpress.com)

A London-based NGO has expressed “deep concern” about the treatment of journalists in Egypt after a reporter for a leading Spanish newspaper was intimidated into leaving the country.

Earlier this month, Spain had alerted El Pais’s correspondent in Egypt - Ricard Gonzalez - that Egyptian authorities planned to arrest him, advising him to leave and not to return to Cairo, the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) said in a statement.

Gonzalez speculates the treatment stems out of his paper’s critical coverage of Egyptian President Abdelfattah el-Sisi, whose rule saw major setbacks in media freedoms in Egypt, rights groups said.

“El País has been one of the most critical European newspapers of the Egyptian regime,” he told CAABU.

“Maybe all this has to do with the visit of Abdel Fatah el-Sisi to Madrid last April. We did a very critical coverage in a moment of high visibility. Normally, Spanish media doesn’t get as much attention as English media,” he added.

Gonzalez, who lived in Cairo for four years, also believes the threats of arrest may be because of a book he had written about the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, the book was published in March 2014 and did not show the Islamist movement now designated a terrorist organization by Cairo, in a favorable light.

In a report released June 25, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said 18 journalists were now detained in Egypt, the highest number since record keeping began in 1990.

“Caabu condemns the ongoing crackdown on the freedom of press and human rights in Egypt by the local authorities,” the organization said in a statement.

“Given the recent invitation of David Cameron to President Sisi to visit Britain, it is vital that all journalists including British are free to report the visit freely and professionally without fear of intimidation,” the statement said.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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