Middle East: Press Freedom

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Alasdair McDonnell Alasdair McDonnell Social Democratic and Labour Party, Belfast South

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the governments of (a) Egypt, (b) Saudi Arabia and (c) United Arab Emirates on the removal of restrictions on press freedom in these countries and the Middle East.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We regularly raise our concerns over press freedoms with the Egyptian authorities both in London and in Cairo. The Prime Minister raised the detention of journalists including the trial of the Al Jazeera journalists with President Sisi during his visit to the UK in November 2015. I raised press freedoms and freedom of expression with the Egyptian Ambassador earlier this month.

We also regularly make our views on freedom of expression known to the Saudi Arabian Government. We continue to underline to the UAE that people must be allowed to freely discuss and debate issues and exercise the right to freedom of thought. We believe that reforms, including meeting citizens’ aspirations for greater participation, will be the guarantor of longer-term stability in the region.

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