National Press Club

Post publishes Letter to Editor from NPC president urging release of journalists

November 3, 2014

The Washington Post published the following letter from Myron Belkind, president of the National Press Club, on Oct. 31:

“Glossing over repression” (an Oct. 29 editorial in the Washington Post) lamented “the elimination of a once-robust free press” in Egypt. The National Press Club is deeply concerned about the continued imprisonment in Egypt of media professionals, including three Al Jazeera journalists who have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from seven to 10 years for carrying out their duties.

We had hoped for favorable developments after President Obama had urged Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi in New York on Sept. 25 to release journalists jailed in Egypt. Our hopes were bolstered by the Egyptian president’s remarks to the U.N. General Assembly that week that his “new Egypt” would “guarantee freedom of speech.”

Sadly, more than a month later, none of the journalists has been released.

The National Press Club continues to condemn the jailing of the three Al Jazeera journalists — and at least eight others, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists — and urges the Egyptian government to respond to the exhortation from many journalistic organizations around the world, including The Post.