Insulting the Egyptian president could lead to a substantial fine
Cairo – Amr Wali
A decision by Egypt’s interim Prime Minister, Adly Mansour to amend the penal code, so that anyone accused of insulting the President receives a fine
, has been regarded as a “positive step” by a number of prominent journalists.
According to the decision, anyone found to be offending will be fined anything between 10 thousand to 15 thousand Egyptian pounds.
Journalist Salah Eissa told Arab Today that the decision was a good idea, and should replace the prison sentence, which is currently being adopted. However, he said, the president is a public employee, and like public figures will be the subject of criticism.
He called on the prime minister to implement the changes suggested by the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate (EJS) –a union of journalists, and Former Supreme Press Council, into the constitution, giving the press more freedom of speech.
Journalist Abdullah al Senawi told Arab Today, “The president is a public officer and has no exception”.
Gamal Fahmy, director of the EJS, said, “The charge of insulting the president was never used under the rule of any president to Egypt except under the rule of the ousted President Mohammed Morsi.”
He said for freedom of speech to work in the country, all restrictions on journalists would need to be lifted.