Journalists from state-run news agency MENA, Al-Shaab and Al-Wafd newspapers staged protests Wednesday demanding better salaries and permanent employment for temporary or freelance workers.
MENA’s reporters protested outside the Shura Council, submitting a memo to its speaker, Ahmed Fahmy, who also heads the Supreme Council of Journalism, in which they demanded the agency’s budget be raised and reporters’ salaries be increased. They said the annual LE47 million budget is not enough to cover financial needs that exceed LE60 million, making bonuses meager.
Ali Qutb, one of the journalists, said, “The state gives no attention to MENA as if it was not its official news agency,” adding that bonuses disbursed are too low when compared to those given at other state institutions.
Reporters at Al-Shaab have also gone on an open-ended sit-in outside the Journalists Syndicate, decrying a halt to the paper’s operations and failure to disburse salaries. They said in a statement on Wednesday that there was no clear reason for the recent closure of the paper. The reporters demanded that the syndicate defend their rights, and threatened to proceed with the sit-in until salaries are disbursed and the newspaper reopened.
Reporters from the liberal Wafd party’s mouthpiece paper said they would stage an open-ended sit-in in response to the administration’s refusal to reinstate former chief editor Adel Sabry and its failure to give freelance reporters contracts.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm