Dozens of journalists from privately-owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm began a strike on Monday in protest of the arbitrary suspension of several journalists from the institution.
A journalist from Al-Masry Al-Youm, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Daily News Egypt that the strike was sparked due to the suspension of the journalists. The source added that the institution has cancelled its old contracts with the employees and imposed new freelance contracts, whereby the institution stipulates that it has no commitment towards the journalists and is not committed to pay insurances or provide recommendations.
The source further said that the main demand of the protestors is to be heard, adding that it is not the first time that journalists were suspended for unannounced reasons. The source concluded saying that recently released journalist, Amr Badr, was present at the protests. Head of the Press Syndicate’s Rights Committee, Khaled Al-Balshy, along with a delegation from the syndicate also attended the protest.
The Press Syndicate announced full solidarity with the suspended journalists, saying that they have every possible right to take legal actions to defend their rights. The syndicate also urged the administration of the newspaper to refrain from taking any unexplained or unwarranted actions against the journalists.
According to sources in Al-Masry Al-Youm, the suspension of journalists had previously occurred several times; however, this is the first time such escalations have taken place within the headquarters of the newspaper itself.
Al-Masry Al-Youm has a long history of dispensing arbitrary suspensions for journalists. In April, a group of journalists was also suspended from the newspaper. Following escalations from the suspended journalists, the administration backtracked from the suspension decision a few weeks later.
The suspension of journalists from institutions is not unprecedented in Egypt. In July, privately-owned newspaper Dotmsr suspended about 85 journalists without informing them of the reasons behind the decision.