Index calls for the immediate release of Lina Attalah, the editor and co-founder of the Egyptian news website Mada Masr, one of the few independent news outlets in the country to offer an alternative narrative to government-controlled media.
Attalah was arrested outside Tora prison while attempting to interview the mother of Egyptian blogger and political activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, who had been arrested in September 2019 after writing a critical column in Mada Masr. He is currently on hunger strike protesting his pretrial detention conditions.
Rachael Jolley, editor-in-chief of Index on Censorship, said: “Lina was doing her job and reporting on a climate of crackdown and fear in Egypt right now, where news coverage happens under extreme pressure. We call on the international community not to ignore what is going on in Egypt.”
Mada Masr, which was shortlisted in the journalism category in Index’s 2016 Freedom of Expression Awards, was one of 21 websites blocked by the Egyptian authorities in 2017 for “supporting terrorism and extremism and spreading lies” in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Freedom of expression is coming under increasing attack in Egypt and media critical of the government of president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi face huge challenges in doing their important work.