Egypt slammed statements by the European Union and the United Nations on press freedom and human rights in Egypt.
On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zaid called on EU high representative Federica Mogherini to follow the local TV talkshows and social media debates as well newspapers headlines before criticising the situation of press freedom in Egypt.
He said: “Before unjustly criticising the situation of freedoms in Egypt, they should first review how those outlets criticise the performance of the executive power.”
According to Abou Zaid, the definition of human rights for Egyptians is viewed globally within the limits of freedom of expression, regardless of right to healthcare, education, or food.
He said efforts should be increased towards pushing for assistance in the form of provision of further humanitarian aid to advance Egyptians’ standard of living.
On Tuesday, Mogherini described the recent arrest of Press Syndicate chief Yehia Qallash and other board members as broader limitations on freedom of expression and press freedom in Egypt.
“The indictment of the Egyptian Press Syndicate’s leaders is a worrying development that follows the unprecedented raid by Egyptian security forces on the syndicate building earlier this month,” she said.
In recent weeks and months many journalists, activists, protesters and human rights defenders have been arrested, or have suffered intimidation through travel bans, court summons and the threat of asset freezes.
Mogherini urged Egypt to act in accordance with its national and international commitments to promote and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms as guaranteed by its Constitution, in her statement on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that he is concerned about the Press Syndicate incident and is following it closely.
In an unprecedented incident since its formation in 1941, Qalash, alongside head of the Freedoms Committee Khaled Al-Balshy, as well as the secretary of the syndicate spent a night in police custody after refusing to pay a bail of EGP 10,000 after investigation by the general prosecution over charges of harbouring wanted suspects and publishing false news.