Recently, and particularly since August 17th, 2020, several testimonies by women, who declared that they were sexually abused by the Egyptian journalist and investigative journalism instructor Hisham Allam, were published on “El Modawana” blog, followed by other women who have published screenshots on social media outlets, supporting the women’s testimonies on “El Modawana”, and documenting several correspondences between Allam and other female journalists, most of whom were young, and at the beginning of their professional career.
The correspondences and testimonies have revealed serious complaints claiming that Allam has committed acts that amount to sexual abuse and cyber harassment against several women.
Hence, and as an independent media platform committed, in word and deed, to support women’s rights and gender equality causes which represent a fundamental part of our content and work priorities, and because we believe in the crucial need to contribute in combating all forms of sexual violence and defying the culture of accepting and justifying sexual violence in both our societies and our media and professional communities, “Daraj” is keen to inform its readers and the public opinion more broadly about its decision to suspend collaboration with journalist Hisham Allam within the framework of a joint project with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Moreover, “Daraj” shall refrain from publishing any new work for Allam on its platforms, until justice is served or until proven innocent from the accusations mentioned against him in the women’s testimonies. An internal investigation shall also be carried out with “Daraj” female colleagues and affiliates to verify if any of them were sexually harassed by Allam or others.
At “Daraj”, we fully respect the means chosen by every woman to achieve justice, recovery, and ownership of their story’s narrative. And until the full truth is revealed, putting into account that we sought to find the other side of the story in Allam’s response on his page but we did not find it sufficient, and until justice is served through confession, apology, compensation or legal accountability or any other means of justice, our collaboration with the aforementioned journalist, with whom we shared a professional fellowship, shall remain suspended, given the size of the case that appears to have several chapters and stories, and out of respect for the efforts and struggles of the women, and to refrain from contributing in any societal and media practices that could reinforce the normalization of sexual harassment and silence as a response to it, as if nothing happened.