Over 50 candidates campaign on press rights and new media
Egypt’s Journalists’ Union prepares for mid-term elections, as 56 candidates have announced they will stand in the vote, along with five candidates standing for the position of syndicate chairman
.Various candidates have begun to set out their election promises.
The Beyada news website’s editor-in-chief, Khaled el-Balshy, has criticised the lack of a “strong training programme” for developing journalists’ professional skills in Egypt, stressing that it was key to attract young journalists to join the union.
“The current brutal threats against Egypt’s press pose a serious threat to this union,” el-Balshy claimed, adding that attacks aimed to silence journalists. Constitutionally enshrined media rights were the way forward, he claimed.
Egyptian journalist Adel Sabry, who is standing for chairman, meanwhile called for a new organisation representing electronic media with the Journalists’ Union. “This is the press of the future,” he said. Sabry added that it was important to create a “league” of managing directors from different Egyptian newspapers “to follow the developments in our press institutions and their effects on the work of our journalists.”
Nagwa Tantawy revealed that she decided to run for the position “to protect and to serve journalists,” stressing the need to foster communication between different generations of media professionals.
Former union General Secretary, Karem Mahmoud, said that he if won the chairman election he would promote talks with political parties – “to review constitutional articles pertaining to press freedom and freedom of expression,” he added.
“Egyptian journalists should resume their struggle to fight the imprisonment of media professionals,” Mahmoud said, renewing his commitment to defending press rights.
Egypt’s press union elections will take place in early March, after being rescheduled from October 2013 due to internal differences.