Friday, June 3, 2016

Another history in making : Head of Journalist syndicate stands trial !!

For the first time in the history of journalism in Egypt , the head of the journalists syndicate and two of its leading board members are going on trial on Saturday and there is a big chance that they will be sent to jail as well.
It all started late Monday evening when suddenly people knew that head of Egyptian Journalists syndicate Yahia Qallash as well its secretary general Gamal Abdel Rahim and undersecretary Khaled El-Balshy were at the Prosecution General's office in Downtown Cairo questioned for what happened during the storming of the syndicate earlier this month.
After 14 hours , in fact in the early hours of Tuesday the prosecution decided to release Qallash, El-Balshy and Abdel Rahim on bail charging them at the same time of spreading false news and sheltering fugitives !!!! 
Rejecting to be charged for something they believe they did not do, the three journalists and veteran unionists decided not to pay the LE 10,000 " USD 1,000" bail.
Head of Journalists syndicate Yahia Qallash also demanded an investigative judge to be investigative the incident instead of the General Prosecution.
After the storming of the syndicate, the Prosecutor General issued a statement supporting the Police's action imposing a media gag order on the case.
Qallash and his colleagues considered the Prosecution after that statement as biased party involved in the matter that could not
According to the law , they can face detention up to 4 days.
So the Prosecution decided to detain them till either pay or they would be sent to Misdemeanor court.
For nearly 32 hours , the three journalists were detained at Kasr Al-Nil police station where they were kept at one of the offices in the police station.
Yahia Qallash on left and Khaled El-Balshy on right
at Kasr Al-Nil police station 
They technically semi-board meeting inside the police station.
Despite the three journalists insisted in an act of defiance that they would not pay the bail , the bail was paid anonymously after more than 30 hours against their well in some crazy scene.
It was not really anonymously because it turned out that lawyer Tarek Negida , the former leading member in Nasserite Popular current party.
Negida had to resign from the party hours that it was known that he paid the bail .
Many accused and are still accusing Tarek Negida of being security informant.
More shockingly, it was found out that only one board member testified against them.
That board is Hatem Zakaria and he is currently referred to some sort of disciplinary committee in the syndicate.
Anyhow the three men were released despite their refusal to pay the bail.
Here is the full account of Khaled El-Balshy on what happened that day.

There are lots of interesting coincidence in that incident as on the same day we found out that A Cairo urgent matters already adjourned the case to impose state guardianship on the Syndicate for the first time of its first !!!
This tells you a lot.
What is happening got too many meanings. There is truly an unprecedented attack on that margin of freedom of Press in Egypt. Even that margin of freedom is not allowed before.
People should have known that when President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said that he envied President Nasser for his media , he was not bluffing.
Nasser killed freedom of journalism and created the one single-state controlled media by Nationalization.
What is happening at the journalists syndicate clearly carries as well the massage that the regime does not want unions and syndicate to have a role bigger than social clubs.
The regime does not want to see that scene at the Doctors syndicate or Journalists syndicate again.
Nobody speak about that unfortunately.
What is interesting that all this is happening when the media map is being reshaped by new business deals.
I will not comment on the Egyptian Ministry of foreign affairs about the UN and EU's statements regarding what happened to Qallash and his colleagues.
We will see what happens on Saturday.
Personally, I am not optimistic. 

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