The Press Syndicate decided to withdraw its members from the Constituent Assembly on Tuesday following a meeting among its members.
The syndicate cited the current draft constitution’s inability to safeguard press freedoms. The Constituent Assembly ignored the eight proposals sent by the syndicate, lobbying for a more independent press system.
Members of the syndicate expressed disappointment at the draft’s failure to prohibit the imprisonment of journalists in certain cases, including libel, and its restriction of personal freedoms to go along with restrictions on the press.
“We aren’t seeing a change in press freedoms from the last regime,” said Gamal Fahmy, a member of the syndicate’s board.
“This draft is a big disaster,” Fahmy said.
“After the revolution, we were expecting greater freedoms to be granted to the press.”
Fahmy said a new constitution is needed to not only reassess the state’s relationship with the press, but take steps to protect newer forms of media, including television, which he claims has been overlooked.
The syndicate has called for an emergency meeting on 25 November in which members will discuss freedom of expression, journalist wages, and elements pertaining to journalists in the current draft.