Attacks on the Press
The Egyptian Journalists Syndicate mounted a widespread campaign to pressure President Hosni Mubarak to fulfill a February 2004 promise to decriminalize press offenses. More than 20 newspapers went on strike for a day in July as part of the campaign, which many journalists credit with the last-minute deletion of a controversial amendment to the penal code. Mubarak removed a provision that would have stipulated prison sentences of up to three years for journalists who defamed public officials by alleging corruption. The provision was aimed at silencing independent and opposition newspapers that had increasingly carried reports on corruption scandals and influence peddling that allegedly involved high-ranking state officials and Mubarak’s son and heir apparent, Gamal Mubarak.