UPDATE: Journalist union’s 3 hour interrogation of member who talked to Israeli

Hala Mustafa, journalist who spoke with Israeli Ambassador

Hala Mustafa, journalist who spoke with Israeli Ambassador

This week the Egyptian Journalists Union began the process of taking away a prominent member’s union rights because  she dared to interview the Israeli Ambassador to Egypt.

Al Ahram Weekly reports today that  the head of the union’s investigative committee said they had questioned for three hours – in a “friendly atmosphere” –  Hala Mustafa, the editor of Al-Ahram’s quarterly magazine  Al-Dimoqratiya.

Ms Mustafa has been  accused of violating a 1984 journalist union resolution that effectively bans members from meeting with Israeli officials or taking any other steps towards normalising relations.

Hala Mustafa has repeatedly urged that the 1984 resolution banning journalists from meeting with Israelis be revoked.

“This resolution was adopted almost 25 years ago. It is high time that it is annulled in favour of encouraging dialogue with the Israelis,”  Ms Mustafa said, according to the Al Ahram Weekly report.

The AFP news agency says the issue has become an unofficial referendum  on where Egyptian cultural circles stand regarding ties with Israel, 30 years after the signing of a peace deal which was never mirrored in intellectual circles.

“The policy should be revised,” Mustafa told AFP. “It didn’t achieve anything and it didn’t help the Palestinian cause.

On Tuesday the same union investigative committee will investigate another member,  Hussein Seraggeddin, deputy editor of the state-run weekly magazine October. Seraggeddin is accused of visiting Israel several times in violation of syndicate resolutions.

If either Mustafa or Seraggedin are found guilty they can have their membership cards taken away – and effectively denied the right to work as journalists in Egypt.

Read earlier report on the TULIP website about the claims made against Hala Mustafa