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Mubarak Urged to Halt Attacks on Journalists, Internet

Mubarak Urged to Halt Attacks on Journalists, Internet

For Immediate Release,
Washington, D.C., Friday, January 28 2011
Center for Public Policy Analysis

The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis is calling on Egyptian President Mubarak, and his public security and military forces, to immediately and unconditionally restore unfettered internet use to the people of Egypt and allow independent journalists access to the developing crisis in the country.

Thousands of largely peaceful protestors have clashed with police and army units in recent hours, including at Ramsis Square, Tahrir Square and the October 6th Bridge in Cairo Police and Egyptian Army units are firing rubber bullets and tear gas at the demonstrators, who have also been bludgeoned with batons. Many are calling on the President Mubarak to step down as President.

“During this crisis, we are calling on President Hosni Mubarak to embrace transparency and restore full internet access to the people of Egypt as well as cease the censorship of independent news sources, and internet communications, which are important to a free and open society in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washingiton, D.C.

Internet usage and traffic by providers, including Telecom Egypt, Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya and Etisalat Mist has reportedly been blocked today in Cairo and much of Egypt.

Mr. Smith further commented: “We are very concerned that, in the aftermath of the ongoing internet censoring and blockage, large numbers of Egyptian military and security forces have been mobilized as a result of demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere in the Nile Delta and across the country.”

“There is growing concern in Washington, D.C., and in the U.S. Congress, that given the billions of dollars in American taxpayers’ money given to Egypt over the years, that Egyptian Army units, including those with armored vehicles, have been to deployed in Cairo in an apparent effort to head off peaceful protestors as well as silence journalists and news reporters seeking to cover these recent events,” Smith said.

“Based upon credible reports about the recent harassment and beating by Egyptian police of journalists from Al Jazeera, CNN, and the Arabic service of the BBC, we are also urging President Mubarak to intervene to stop the attacks on journalists and permit press freedom and accurate news reporting of breaking developments in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt,” Smith further stated.

“We are strongly urging Mubarak to halt attacks on journalists and cease the internet censorship,” Smith concluded. “Military and security force attacks against peaceful protestors should also cease.” http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org


Internet instant messaging, social network sites and other forms of internet and mobile telephone communications have been blocked by the Mubarak government in an apparent effort to stifle protestors, anti-government opposition groups and political dissidents in Egypt.

President Mubarak has ruled Egypt for three decades..

The United States provides some $1.3 billion dollars in annual military assistance to the Mubarak government in Egypt--with tens of billions in U.S. taxpayers’ assisting being provided to the Egyptian military over the last three decades of President Mubarak’s rule.

State-run television has announced a curfew in Egypt.

Egypt is besieged with rampant unemployment, rising food prices and other problems.

The Egyptian crisis follows earlier protests in Tunisia that resulted in the ousting of its former President Ben Ali Zine El Abidine who was given asylum in the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia earlier this month.

Protests in Jordan are calling for the resignation of its Prime Minister.

###

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