Saturday, Khaled Elbalshy, editor-in-chief of the Darb news website, the mouthpiece of the left-wing Popular Socialist Alliance Party, won the elections of the Journalists’ Union. Balshy got 2450 votes, outperforming his main rival, the state-sponsored editor-in-chief of the state-owned Akhbar Al Youm, Khaled Elmery, who got 2211 votes.
“I will be a representative for all,” said Elbalshy after the declaration of the result, “Our way is to bargain for our rights.”
Besides Elbalshy, dissident journalists Gamal Abdel Rahim, Hesham Younis, Mahmoud Kamel, and Mohamed Elgarhy won 4 seats of the union’s council out of 6 seats proposed in this poll. The commission consists of 12 seats plus the head of the union.
Elbalshy, who was rewarded Nelson Mandela Award for Human Rights Defenders, was the secretary of the union’s council in 2016 when the union warred a battle with the Egyptian police after the police stormed the syndicate’s premises to arrest two journalists who attacked the regime for conceding Tiran and Sanfir to Saudi Arabia.
After the battle, the Egyptian regime promoted Diaa Rashwan, the head of the State Information Service, the regime’s mouthpiece, to replace the dissident journalist Yahia Qallash in 2019. Rashwan adopted a policy of appeasement with the regime, while over 20 journalists were kept in an Egyptian jail, and about 100 news websites were blocked from the Egyptian web.
The winner is considered a slap on the face of the Egyptian regime that promoted Khaled Elmery for the post.