Syndicate says 32 journalists held by authorities

The Journalists' Syndicate has voiced concern over what it views is a surge in the arrest of journalists over multiple charges, pointing out that the number of journalists currently held by authorities stands at more than 32.
In a statement on Monday, the syndicate’s Freedoms Committee described the current situation as an “escalation of the attack against press and media freedom represented in the return of journalists' arrests and the suspension of those with a different opinion.” It added that the attack went even further, to the point where it involved the forced disappearance of journalists and media figures for days before bringing them before prosecutors. The committee went on to accuse authorities of “seeking to settle accounts with media on criminal grounds”.
The syndicate said half of the detained journalists are being held for “practicing their journalistic work” and are suffering from “poor health” due to abuses in detention cells.
The statement by the syndicate, which accuses security authorities of kidnapping three of its members a few weeks ago, comes hours after the detention of three high-profile members of the media: journalist Hossam Bahgat, the founder of independent daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-YoumSalah Diab and State TV presenter Azza AlHenawy.
Bahgat, an investigative reporter for independent website Mada Masr, was remanded into custody on Monday pending investigation over charges of disseminating false, military-related news. He was released on Tuesday.
Though prosecution said businessman Salah Diab, who was arrested on Sunday, was detained over financial corruption charges, some observers believe the measure was actually a proverbial slap on the hand for his newspaper’s highly-critical content.
State TV also suspended presenter Azza AlHenawy for criticizing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over failing to tackle the aftermath of violent rainfalls that claimed the lives of more than 25 people in Egypt over the past two weeks.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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