Saturday November 17th, the Egyptian journalists will be invited to elect the new executive board of their union and its president. Meeting with Ragay El Mirghany, vice editor-in-chief of the Middle East News Agency (MENA) and candidate for the position of president of the union.
In the current context of repeated attacks against journalists, do you believe that power will leave an independent candidate, like you, win the elections?
Despite the pressures that may be relayed by the editors of media pro-government, the regime can not force journalists to choose their representatives. In the end, these elections will be transparent and journalists will vote according to their beliefs.
You work for the official news agency. How can you run as an independent candidate?
I work for an agency that provides only information, I do not do it. When I want to express my views, I can go through the independent or opposition media. There is therefore no conflict of interest, in my point of view.
What should be the priorities of the new union of journalists?
First, respect for freedom of expression. It is a fundamental right and therefore not negotiable. So, i call for for the abolition of all laws that allow still imprison journalists for their positions. But freedom of expression also by improving wages, to ensure the financial independence of journalists. Today, the state takes 15% of advertising revenue of newspapers. I propose to reduce this rate to 10% and devote the remaining 5% for a fund dedicated to support journalists.
The proposals are very political ...
We must not neglect the political role of the Union, even if I ask members to put aside their own guidelines, once within the union. Consistency of the union remains the importance. If we want to redefine the relationship between power and the press, and if journalists want to achieve their objectives, they must be united.
The consistency of the union is the necessary condition to ensure your role as the fourth power?
I do not really believe in this concept. The Egyptian press, the fourth power, is an invention of Sadat to coax journalists while he was negotiating the Camp David agreements. I prefer to stay with the constitutional concept which makes the press a kind of power to control people. Journalists must be critical observers.
This Article was written for www.magalif.fr