Egypt Independent

Abu Ismail tops ‘press enemies’ list, says he has not insulted journalists

A national committee favoring freedom of expression made a list of people it described as enemies of the press, with former presidential hopeful Hazem Salah Abu Ismail

topping the list.

The National Committee for the Defense of Freedom of Expression, in its first report on freedom of expression and opinion during the first half of 2012, called on journalists to refrain from interviewing or publishing stories about the Salafi preacher.

The committee also called on journalists to refuse to be tried before the prosecutor general, and to demand to be interrogated before an investigation judge.

President Mohamed Morsy appointed Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah as part of the 22 November constitutional declaration. Many opposition groups rejected the declaration, viewing it as a violation of judicial authority.

The committee demanded an immediate start to processing complaints from journalists being prosecuted, suspended or oppressed, or who face any other form of infringement on the freedom to work.

Meanwhile, Abu Ismail denied Sunday that he has insulted journalists, describing the demands to stop publishing news about him as “ridiculous.”

In remarks to a limited number of journalists Sunday afternoon, he said these demands are the first of their kind among media in history, and that he was confidence most journalists would “distance themselves from being part of this vicious and unjustified attack.”

When asked whether Abu Ismail and his supporters’ siege of Media Production City was the reason behind these demands, he said his sit-in had been completely peaceful.

“We did not prevent the broadcasting of any show or ban any presenter, and did not block the entrance or exit of Media Production City during the sit-in,” Abu Ismail said. “The broadcast was completely free, which makes this sit-in a model for peacefulness.”