Montreal, April 9, 2015. The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) expresses its grave concern over the arrest of Ahmed Samih, director of Radio Horytna and the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-violence Studies (AITAS), and the subsequent filing of charges that relate to the operation of Radio Horytna, Egypt’s first Internet radio station. This appears to be politically motivated and intended to further stifle the freedom of expression in Egypt.

Police officers from the Sayyida Zeinab Police Department raided the offices of Radio Horytna on Qasr al-Aini Street, Cairo, on 4 April. The officers searched the premises and removed documents and equipment. The staff of Radio Horytna was questioned about its editorial methods, the content of news reports and whether they were affiliated with political parties or other interest groups. Human rights defender and director of Radio Horytna, Ahmed Samih, was arrested and detained overnight. Samih was subsequently released on bail of EGP 5000 with five charges including the establishment and operation of a communications service without a licence and the broadcasting of audio and visual content without permission of the competent authorities. These charges were brought despite the fact that Radio Horytna has been operating since 2007 and that there is no law in Egypt requiring a licence to operate an Internet radio station.

AMARC calls upon the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against Ahmed Samih, to desist from any further intimidation or harassment of Radio Horytna and to ensure that the right to freedom of expression, guaranteed in the Egyptian constitution of 2014, is respected, including the freedom to publish audio and visual content on the Internet. AMARC further calls on the Egyptian authorities to end the state monopoly on radio broadcasting and to permit private and civil society organisations to operate FM radio broadcasting services, including community radio, consistent with international norms and standards on media pluralism and freedom of expression in a democratic society.