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CAIRO (AP) — Several hundred Egyptian journalists have rejected a recent policy declaration by newspaper editors pledging near-blind support to the state and banning criticism of the police, army and judiciary in their publications, arguing that the move was designed to create a one-voiced media.
In a statement posted Sunday on social media networks, the journalists said fighting terrorism was both a duty and an honor but has nothing to do with the “voluntary surrender” of the freedom of expression as outlined in the editors’ Oct. 26 declaration.
“Standing up to terrorism with a shackled media and sealed lips means offering the nation to extremism as an easy prey and turning public opinion into a blind creature unaware of the direction from which it is being hit or how to deal with it,” said the statement.
Khaled el-Balshi, a board member of the Journalists’ Union who initiated the move, said the statement came out of a meeting Saturday in which journalists discussed the future of the local media. El-Balshi, who edits a news website, said at least 300 journalists have so far signed the statement online.
“It is an attempt to make newspapers speak with one voice,” he told The Associated Press. “The move by the editors of the newspapers was like establishing a political party in support of the regime. They want to end diversity.”
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