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Press Freedom in Egypt

Press under duress in Egypt


Update: Super Morsi...

Egypt is quick to return to dictatorship as it takes action against political satirist

Link Here2nd January 2013
Full story: Press Freedom in Egypt...Press under duress in Egypt

A popular Egyptian political satirist is being investigated by prosecutors for allegedly insulting the president. A formal complaint was brought against Bassem Youssef for undermining the standing of President Mohamed Morsi in his television show.

Separately, an independent newspaper says it has been accused by the presidency of circulating false news and is being investigated.

The cases come amid increasing worries about press freedoms in Egypt. Many journalists have joined critics of the new Islamist-backed constitution, saying it does not offer enough guarantees of press freedoms.

Bassem Youssef is a doctor who shot to fame after winning a huge number of followers with his witty lampooning of public figures in amateur videos posted on the internet following the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's rule. He became a household name when his satirical show began to be broadcast three times a week on one of Egypt's independent satellite stations. He has poked fun at everyone from fellow television presenters to well-known Muslim scholars and most recently President Morsi himself, the BBC's Shaimaa Khalil reports,

But sketches in which he portrayed Morsi as a pharaoh, calling him Super Morsi for holding on to executive and legislative powers, and, separately, putting the president's image on a pillow and parodying his speeches have angered one Islamist lawyer, whose formal complaint has resulted in the investigation.

Update: Arrest warrant

31st March 2013.  See  article from

An arrest warrant has been issued for a popular Egyptian political satirist for allegedly insulting Islam and President Mohammed Morsi. Bassem Youssef has faced several complaints over his show El Bernameg (The Programme). He has poked fun at a wide range of figures, from fellow television presenters to well-known Muslim scholars and recently Morsi himself.

As well as insulting Morsi and Islam, Mr Youssef is also accused of spreading false news with the aim of disrupting public order .


9th December

Update: Dangerous Speculation...

Egyptian authorities ban newspaper speculating about the future of the country's military leader
Egypt's newest newspaper has become the victim of state censorship after staff were ordered to shelve an entire print run of 20,000 copies over an article that suggested the leader of the governing Military Council could go to prison.

Employees at the Egypt Independent, an English-language weekly, were told the latest edition could not be distributed because of the final two paragraphs of an opinion piece about Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the de facto president.

It is another blow for those who have raised concerns about the direction of Egypt's revolution, with critics alleging that the country's top brass appear intent on undermining the popular uprising to preserve their decades-old networks of power.

The offending article, headlined, Is Tantawi reading the public pulse correctly? , had suggested that many in the military believed their reputation was being abused. The military institution could remove him to save itself, argued the opinion piece, by American historian Dr Robert Springborg. It concluded that a group of discontented officers might decide that a coup within the coup was the best way to deal with Tantawi, and mentioned a possible contender for the Field Marshal's post.


1st October

Update: Reverting to Old Ways...

CPJ unimpressed by the return of newspaper censorship in Egypt

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the censorship of two newspapers in the past four days, the first instances of their kind since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak in February. Production of the Saturday edition of the independent weekly Sawt al-Umma was halted, while the daily Rose al-Youssef was prevented from printing a page in today's paper that was to feature a controversial story.

The military government has revived Mubarak-era repression, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. These two instances of censorship have been preceded by the closing of a news bureau, the interrogation of journalists, and other instances of press restrictions and intimidation.

Al-Ahram printing house, which publishes the semi-official daily Al-Ahram and other newspapers, told Sawt al-Umma editors that it was halting production of its Saturday edition because of the paper's story on Mubarak's ongoing trial, news reports said. Sawt al-Umma was a frequent target of harassment under Mubarak's regime, CPJ research shows.

The Rose al-Youssef article that offended described an alleged Israeli spy once stationed in Cairo.


12th September

Update: The Sky is Falling in on Egyptian Dreams...

Egypt blocks new satellite channels

Egypt's Information Ministry has launched a campaign with the Interior Ministry's censorship department to reconsider the permits of 16 satellite channels broadcasting from Egypt.

Informed sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the office of Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, which began transmission following the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in February, was raided by Egyptian authorities.

Information Minister Osama Heikal announced that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the cabinet decided after a joint meeting that day to temporarily suspend granting new permits to satellite channels. They also decided to prosecute satellite channels deemed threatening to the stability of the country.

Egyptian rights organizations meanwhile condemned the decision, saying it is a regression to the oppressive policies of Mubarak's regime.


14th May

Update: Ongoing Emergency...

Egypt plans to ease press censorship

Egypt's government plans to ease press censorship for two years and end property confiscation by the state, Al Ahram newspaper reported, without saying how it obtained the information.

Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif will present the proposals to parliament in Cairo, the state-run newspaper said.

The measures temporarily ease an emergency law that was introduced after Islamist militants assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981. The emergency law will still be applied against terrorism and narcotics suspects, Al Ahram said.


4th February

Update: Prison Sentences Edited...

Egyptian newspaper editors spared jail but convictions and fines still stand

The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes a Cairo appeals court decision to strike down a one-year jail term against four editors, but condemns that the conviction stands for criticizing President Hosni Mubarak and his top aides.

An appellate court judge Mohamed Samir struck down a one-year jail-term given in September 2007 to four editors for publishing false information likely to disturb public order. However, the court upheld a 20,000 Egyptian pound (US$3,540) fine against Ibrahim Eissa of the daily Al-Dustour, Adel Hamouda of the weekly Al-Fajr, Wael el-Abrashi, former editor of Sawt Al-Umma, and Abdel Halim Kandil, former editor of the weekly Al Karama.

We are relieved that the prison terms have finally been struck down, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. But we condemn the practice of using the judiciary to criminalize critical journalism and spread fear and self-censorship. We call on Egypt's highest judicial authorities to overturn this politically motivated verdict.

Eissa is among the most judicially harassed journalists in the country. In September, an appeals court sentenced him to six months in prison for disseminating false news about Mubarak's health. He was granted a presidential pardon in October. Eissa said that the regime's willingness to accept the media has regressed and that there is no room for journalistic expression when reporters are threatened with 32 articles in the penal code and the press regulation law.


2nd November

Update: Pictures of a Censor...

Heavy fine for TV news showing protestors tearing down pictures of Egyptian president

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned an Egyption court's recent decision to fine Nader Gohar, the head of the Cairo News Company (CNC), LE 150,000 after his company broadcast images of rioters tearing down portraits of President Hosni Mubarak in April.

The court's decision is a death warrant to CNC, RSF said in a press statement. The Egyptian authorities are not even trying to hide their desire to censor independent media and control the news.

The Egyptian Television and Radio union (ERTU) had filed a complaint against Gohar for airing footage of riots in the Delta region showing citizens protesting high prices and attacking President Mubarak's pictures. The footage dates back to April 6.

Following the complaint, the Egyptian police forces raided CNC's office confiscating several pieces of equipment, accusing him of working without required licenses and permits.

The video recording was later aired by channels such as Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and France 2.

The case is not legitimate as the sole reason behind it is the footage that shows the citizens stepping on President Mubarak's picture, Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) who is also part of Gohar's defense team told Daily News Egypt: Security forces wanted a scapegoat to show the president that they got who's responsible.

According to Eid, ANHRI will appeal the case soon.


11th October

 Offsite: New brushstrokes on Egypt's canvas...

Ham-fisted censorship and an internet generation are redrawing the media landscape

See article from


14th September

Update: Licensed to Oppress...

Egyptian editor jailed for publishing newspaper without a licence

An Egyptian editor was sentenced to one-year in prison as the Egyptian government continued its efforts to censor media in the country.

Press freedom groups have condemned the ruling, saying Cairo is doing little to ensure freedom of the press.

Ahmed Baker Seleem, editor of the Cairo Today newspaper, was handed a one-year jail term for publishing a newspaper without a license, the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported. Seleem, who was also fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds (US$1,845), is currently free on bail while he awaits appeal.

The case was brought to court after a rival newspaper accused Seleem of defamation. It was later discovered that Cairo Today had been publishing without a license.

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