A group of eight NGOs issued a joint statement Monday, denouncing the media gag order on the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant last week. The groups said in thestatement that the official entity responsible for ordering the gag should reveal its details and withdraw it at once.
Last week, a media gag order was imposed on news reports about the nuclear power plant. The only source about the decision was written in the state-owned MENA news agency.
The news agency cited the General Prosecution as the source of the order. However, no official entity released a statement or clarification about the order.
The order entailed that no details about the station can be published unless they are approved by Egyptian security entities and the Ministry of Electricity.
The groups’ statement cited the Egyptian constitution, which stipulates the right to access information and states that the decision has no legal standing. It also called upon the government to respect the “principles of transparency”.
Egyptian law does not allow media gag orders unless they are approved by judicial authorities. “Even the presidency does not have the right to do so unless it is a military issue,” the group said.
In November, Russian energy agency Rosatom, the Egyptian organisation for nuclear plants, and Russia’s atomic energy agency signed an agreement for El-Dabaa nuclear plant, stating that this project will help Egypt solve its lack of energy sources.
Egypt has been dealing with an energy crisis for several years, which has resulted numerous blackouts and power outages for prolonged periods, particularly during the summer months.
Talks of a nuclear project with Russia began in the 1960s, during late president Gamal Abdel Nasser’s era, but the project was dismissed due to the 1967 war.
Following the 1973 war, Egypt and the US signed an agreement but it was also dismissed after the US attempted to impose political conditions that were deemed unacceptable by former late president Anwar El-Sadat.
In the 1980s, Egypt agreed with France to establish a nuclear plant, but the project was dismissed following the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.