Further job displacement of journalists and further media ‘desertification’ in Egypt… Al-Tahrir newspaper’s website to shut down for being blocked

24 June, 2019

Cairo: 24 June 2019

Al- Tahrir News issued a statement yesterday afternoon announcing that it is on its way to be shut down after the government bodies in Egypt got away with the crime of blocking the newspaper’s website since 9 May 2019. The newspaper has addressed all concerned and sovereign agencies in the state in order figure out whoever’s behind the blocking of its website or the reason for the decision, but to no avail as none of these bodies responded, which prompted the newspaper to announce that it will ensure the disbursement of its employees’ salaries only during the next two months, after which it will not be able to fulfill its responsibility towards its journalists or employees if the current situation persists.

Blocking Al-Tahrir newspaper’s website constitutes a clear and flagrant example of the policy of blocking and confiscation under no reason or declaration of the body responsible for practicing such antagonism, a situation that was repeated with a little bit difference in minor details echoing the shutting down of many news websites, such as ” Al-Bedaya, Katib and Bawabet Yanayer (January Gate)”, and many other websites that have been shut down or closed owing to the authorities’ arbitrariness and antagonism towards professional and independent journalism in Egypt. The authorities have proceeded to crack down on independent newspapers and websites putting them under siege, whether through unfair laws or blocking decisions, without declaring the reasons behind the ban or even having the courage to declare the party that carries out such decisions.

The matter is not only limited to passing anti-press freedom laws or blocking the websites that insisted on maintaining their professionalism and independence, but it went beyond when the confiscation decisions and publication bans have even reached the state-backed newspapers and websites. Banning the publication of Al-Ahaly newspaper for three consecutive times is an example.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said: “Egypt being free of independent journalism has become really a matter of fact not a metaphor. The remainder of independent news websites in Egypt has just been blocked and is now fighting a war to survive, as a result of the government bodies’ antagonism towards press freedom while exerting no effort to carry out measures that further intensify the darkness and media desertification Egypt lives in”.

Declaring its full solidarity with Al-Tahrir Newspaper and all its journalists and employees, ANHRI asserts that the policy of blocking websites, the confiscation of newspapers and the ban of their publication is a crime that is added to the list of crimes being documented, and its perpetrators will not continue to escape punishment.