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Human rights, media organisations and bloggers start a campaign
for freedom of expression
Cairo, 21 March 2007
In a meeting held yesterday, a number of human rights and media organisations, and bloggers agreed to start a defence campaign for freedom of expression and to intercept attempts to block websites and blogs through a case that was raised by Judge Abdel Fattah Mourad at the Administrative court. The date of the first session is still to be determined.
Human rights and media officers and bloggers defending freedom of expression and use of internet held a meeting yesterday, Tuesday 20 March. In the meeting it was decided that the case raised by the judge should be intercepted. The judge filed the lawsuit after a number of bloggers and defenders discovered incidents where the Judge plagiarized from a report published by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo). It was also discovered that Mourad paraphrased some of the report's chapters with no reference to the report, disregarding copy rights. In addition, the Judge plagiarized from the Bent Masriya (Egyptian girl) blog. The lawsuit is considered to be an attempt to instil fear in HRinfo and other human rights and media organizations and bloggers who have revealed the incidents of plagiarism.
"The judge described 21 human rights and media websites and blogs in his complaint as terrorist websites!" said the signatories to the statement.
"He also accused these websites of tarnishing the reputation of Egypt and insulting the president. These are all incorrect information aiming at provoking hostility of the state and judiciary against serious websites known for defending freedom of expression and human rights, which provide an information and human rights service for Arab internet users".
The signatories to the statement have decided to intervene in the case raised by the Judge to defend their continuation and to support freedom of expression and use of internet. The signatories call upon all defenders of freedom of expression in Egypt to intervene in the case by attending the session when its date is determined and intervene as beneficiaries of these websites.
"The petition that the Judge presented to the court provokes hostility of the police authority against these institutions, websites, and blogs that the judge demanded them blocked. In addition, the petition was full of erroneous information when the Judge affiliated at least 6 websites, such as the websites of Kefaya [The Egyptian Movement for Change], Al-Ghadd Newspaper [former head of Al-Ghadd Party, currently imprisoned, Ayman Nour came second after President Mubarak in the last presidential elections], Nahdat Misr Newspaper, and several blogs, to HRinfo, despite the fact that there is no relation between all these websites with HRinfo. This confirms the strong hostility that the Judge has against a free Internet", the signatories added.
Defenders of freedom of expression have decided to establish a website, www.sebona.net, to challenge the attempt to block any website and to defend freedom of expression, which will soon be announced. The website will include information related to the case and any violation against Arab and Egyptian internet users.
The following started the signing of this statement:
Hesham Mubarak Law Center
The Arboreal Annals blog
Al-Nadeem Center for the psychological rehabilitation of victims of violence
The Iraqi News Agency (ANA)
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo)
Allah El-Watan Fatma (God-Homeland-Fatma) blog
The Egyptian Association against Torture
Bent Masrya (Egyptian Girl) blog
Wahed min El-Bashar (One of the people) blog
On the Margin blog
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
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