Canada Plans Protest to Egypt over Censorship of Sharp’s Cairo Press Conference

Canada will protest censorship by Egypt of news reports of a press conference conducted in Cairo recently by Mitchell Sharp, Secretary of State for External Affairs. Mr. Sharp told the House of Commons here yesterday that his department will lodge an official protest with the Government of President Gamal Abdel Nasser. He added that he might follow up by expressing his personal displeasure to the Egyptian Ambassador in Canada.

The Egyptian Government apparently did not want comments attributed to Col. Nasser by Mr. Sharp published from Cairo. It was particularly concerned that Mr. Sharp’s remark that Col. Nasser did not rule out a peaceful settlement with Israel might be misunderstood by other Arab nations. The censorship of reports of Mr. Sharp’s press conference, held last Sunday in the Canadian Embassy in Cairo, has reportedly caused a furor among foreign press agencies in the Egyptian capital. Three news agencies there–the Associated Press, Reuters, and United Press International–told the Government that it was the most”flagrant and insulting case” of censorship yet.

Credit for censoring the reports was claimed by Mohammed Abdel Gawad, chief censor for all outgoing foreign press reports at the official Middle East News Agency, All such reports must be filed through the Agency’s wires. There the censorship is “blind”–meaning that reporters have no way of finding out how much the reports have been altered or slashed before the Agency sends them out.

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