PACE rapporteur: Egypt must respect media freedom

Gvozden Flego (Croatia, SOC), rapporteur on the protection of the safety of journalists and media freedom for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has called on the authorities in Egypt to respect freedom of information and opinion and to ensure fair administration of justice.

He was speaking on the eve of a verdict expected in the retrial of Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Famy and Baher Mohamed on terrorism-related charges.

"The cases of Mohamed Fahmy and his colleague Baher Mohamed are test cases for the Egyptian courts to show, both internally and internationally, that media freedom exists in Egypt. The fight against terrorism should never be an excuse to suppress the variety of opinions or criticism in the media," said Mr Flego.

"Egypt is committed to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The democratic stability of our societies depends on respect for human rights while fighting terrorism," he concluded.