In protest against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s decrees, twelve independent and partisan newspapers and five TV channels have announced that they will go on a press strike, or a blackout, for one day.
The newspapers will not print on Tuesday, and the TV channels will not air on Wednesday, to object to the issued constitutional declaration as well as the proposed draft constitution.
The decision to blackout was made after the National Committee for Defending Freedom of Opinion and Expression held a meeting on Thursday, which was attended by chief editors of several newspapers and representatives of TV channels. They discussed Morsi’s constitutional declaration and articles relating to the rights of journalists.
On Monday, several newspapers shared the same headline “No to Dictatorship” with an illustration showing a prisoner made of newspapers sitting in a dark cell.
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Al Tahrir, Al Masry Al Youm, Al Borsa, Al Youm Al Sabe’, Al Karama, Al Shorouk, Al Wafd, Al Fagr, Al Osboo’, The Daily News Egypt, and Al Watan newspapers are participating in the strike, as well as ON TV, Dream TV and CBC channels.
“We’re on strike in defense of freedom of the press, freedom of expression, civil liberties and the rule of law,” says a reporter from Al Ahram Online.
The draft constitution, which was passed on November 30 by the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly and is set to be voted on in a referendum on December 15, does not include articles against the imprisonment of journalists in cases related to freedom of expression as demanded by journalists.
The blackout represents an objection to dictatorship, an action the press took multiple times during Mubarak’s regime.
Shorouk El Hariry is a regular contributor to Your Middle East and most recently wrote Creating an Egypt free of harassment.