The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today condemned the arrest of Egyptian journalist Nora Younis, editor-in-chief of al-Manassa news agency on June 24.
Security forces raided the office of al-Manassa in Cairo and searched its computers before arresting Younis, who is also a former Washington Post contributor. The officials seized the computers and took Younis to Maadi police station, where she was detained overnight. She is expected to appear before prosecutors on June 25 and charged with operating a website without a license.
Younis founded the news agency website in 2015. Since 2017 access to it has been blocked in Egypt, along with some 500 other websites.
“With the arrest of Nora Younis, Egypt is continuing its appalling campaign to silence critical journalists”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “By jailing journalists, Egypt cannot pretend to be a democracy anymore. Unfortunately, the international community has remained indifferent towards the press freedom and human rights violations in Egypt.”
Younis is the second journalist to be arrested this month. On June 15, the security forces arrested Mohamed Mounir, founder of the Front for the Defense of Journalists and Freedoms,. He was held at an unknown location for several hours before being brought for the investigation before the State Security Prosecution.
Last month security forces arrested Lina Attalah, chief editor of Mada Masr, a news portal, while she was interviewing Laila Soueif, the mother of jailed human rights activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has been on hunger strike for the past month protesting against a ban on family visits in prison. Attalah charged with “filming a military facility without obtaining a license from the competent authorities” and later released on bail.
Currently, there are more than 60 journalists imprisoned in Egypt, according to IPI’s research. Many of those have not been charged and their detention has been repeatedly extended arbitrarily. IPI is campaigning for their release through its #PressEgypt campaign.