Shura vs Press Syndicate
SEVEN of the 12 board members of the Press Syndicate walked out of a meeting held on 10 June with the speaker of Egypt's Shura Council, Brotherhood MP Ahmed Fahmi. The members were objecting to the Shura Council's "excessive" interference in the Supreme Press Council, responsible for appointing editors-in-chief of state-owned media. Only five members of the Press Syndicate remained at the meeting including Mamdouh El-Wali, head of the syndicate.
The Shura Council is the only official entity which oversees the press council, of which the syndicate board is a part. The board members demanded a new mandate of how key editors should be chosen, in order to reduce the influence of Islamist forces which hold the majority of seats in both the Shura Council and parliament.
A statement signed by almost 1,000 journalists was presented at the meeting, accusing the council of implementing the same "control tactics" used by former president Hosni Mubarak's dismantled National Democratic Party (NDP).
The document warned of re-embracing what it described as "pre-25 January Revolution regime policies" which could lead to the removal of reforms the press community have long struggled to put in place.
Syndicate members also demanded the dismissal of some current chief editors appointed by Safwat El-Sherif, former Shura Council speaker and secretary-general of the dissolved NDP.
Sixth day on strike
DOZENS of protesters continued their sit-in in front of the Cabinet. The strike has entered its sixth day. Demonstrators are demanding the enforcement of the disenfranchisement law, dismissal of Prosecutor-General Mahmoud Abdel-Maguid and the immediate release of all detainees arrested during the Abbasiya clashes in May which killed 11 people.
The number of hunger strikers rose from 47 at the beginning of the strike to 55, including political activists Nawara Negm, Asmaa Mahfouz and other revolutionary youths, who stressed that they will not end the sit-in until all of their demands are met.
Protesters have set up barriers around the area they are striking at, using wire and wooden planks, and put up a banner stating, "Boundaries of the sit-in" to avoid any arguments with passers by.
The Health Ministry has allocated an ambulance for protesters in case of emergencies especially after one protester fell ill.
AN EARTHQUAKE measuring 4.1 Richter struck Egypt on 10 June, 22 kilometres southwest the city of Sharm El-Sheikh. The earthquake began at 11.29am and lasted for three minutes. Hatem Ouda, head of the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG), pointed out that some people who reside in the capital of Cairo which is 650 kilometres away from the earthquake's epicentre, reported feeling the earthquake. No casualties or material damage was reported.
'She's my niece'
PROSECUTORS have asked permission from parliament to question Islamist MP Ali Wanis after he was caught performing what was described as an "indecent" act with a woman in public. Wanis, an MP for the ultra-conservative Nour Party, was found engaged in the alleged act with a 22-year-old woman in a car parked on the Cairo-Alexandria agriculture road.
Wanis has issued a public statement denying the allegations, saying in a video posted on his website that he had parked along the side of the road because the girl, who he said was his niece, "fainted and I was just spraying some water on her face".
This is not the first scandal, if true, involving the Nour Party or one of its members. In March Salafi MP Mohamed El-Balkemi was forced to resign from parliament and from his party after claiming he was injured in a carjacking -- to explain bandages on his face -- when in fact he had a nose job.
The Nour Party, which represents the more conservative brand of Salafi Islam, won the second largest number of seats in parliamentary elections last winter.