Africa’s biggest jailer of journalists, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, will visit Brussels to attend the European Union – Africa summit from February 17-18, 2022.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has appealed to the European Union leaders and the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo to speak out against Al-Sisi’s repression of journalists and media in Egypt.
According to IFJ statistics, there are currently 27 journalists and media workers in Egyptian prisons for simply doing their job, making the country the biggest jailer of journalists and repressor of media freedom in the region.
The Egyptian government also usually holds jailed journalists in poor conditions and denies them basic rights such as visits and appropriate medical care, which are blatant violations of Egypt’s own constitution and international conventions on the right to freedom of expression and due legal process
Egypt is renowned for jailing journalists on groundless charges in retaliation for their reporting or opinion on social media. Journalists are frequently detained on false charges for extended periods of time, with additional charges being brought in to justify the time spent in detention. The IFJ and other media organisations have condemned this policy, which is commonly known in Egypt as “recycling”.
During his visit to Brussels, Al-Sisi will meet top EU leaders and officials and the Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander de Croo, to discuss common strategies and investment plans until 2030.
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger said, “EU and Belgian leaders have an unparalleled opportunity to send an unequivocal message to Al-Sisi that Europe will not cooperate with his government until they stop repressing the media.”
“Any agreement with Egypt must be conditional on the immediate release of all jailed journalists and must include press freedom clauses that guarantee the fundamental rights of Egyptian media workers. Otherwise, the summit will help the Egyptian regime to whitewash its international image and continue to repress journalists with impunity,” Bellanger pointed out.
- A Tell report