NEW YORK (Dec. 5)
The Egyptian Embassy in Panama City rejected a request from the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Panama for the issuance of a visa to the well-known and respected journalist and TV personality, Mario Velasquez. Velasquez has been assigned to report on the participation of the Panamanian troops in the United Nations Peace Force in Egypt. In refusing the visa, the Egyptian Embassy charged that Mario Velasquez is an enemy of Egypt and a friend of Israel. The accusation was based on previous reports by Velasquez on his trips to Egypt and Israel.
The Egyptian action, was severely criticized by Mario Augusto, a journalist writing in the Nov. 18 issued of “El Dominical.” who branded the action an “offense to the chancellory” and an attack on freedom of the press. He described the Egyptian attitude as ah expression of “an absolutist government, of totalitarian dictatorial systems which do not permit the free flow of information or free expression of thought.” Augusto urged that the matter be considered by the Union of Panamanian Journalists and by the Chancellery, “which has not only supported the Egyptian position in the United Nations, but has also made important sacrifices in order to contribute to the search for a peaceful solution. of respect and of security in the Middle East.”