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Egypt’s veteran journalist condemns imprisonment of journalists

BBC Monitoring

Text of report in English by Egyptian news agency MENA

Cairo, 22 October: Renowned Egyptian journalist Makram Muhammad Ahmad asserted his full rejection to journalists' imprisonment in publication cases.

During a meeting Monday [22 October] with MENA editors, Ahmad, who intends to run for the chairmanship of the Journalists Syndicate, called for activating the code of ethics for journalists in order to be able to handle violations that could be committed in light of the freedom of journalism.

During the meeting under MENA board chairman and chief editor Abdallah Hasan, Ahmed highlighted the importance of maintaining journalists' right for criticism, but without resorting to libel.

He voiced hope that the issue of imprisoning journalists would be settled soon, asserting that such procedures prevented journalists from tackling issues objectively.

Journalists should be referred to court only under a general prosecution warrant or after informing the syndicate, journalist Ahmad said.

Ahmad promised to raise the basic journalist salaries as well as pensions.

He highlighted the importance of training journalists to upgrade their performance.

He stressed that debts of press associations should be written off and their financial system should be re-structured like public sector companies.

Ahmad noted that he would announce his electoral programme soon and his vision on means of handling current issues concerning journalists.

He rejected attempts to drag the syndicate into partisan or political disputes.

Maintaining journalists' freedom, security and rights are top priority to Ahmad.

Source: MENA news agency, Cairo, in English 1551 gmt 22 Oct 07



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