Egypt is quick to return to dictatorship as it takes action against political satirist
See article from
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 |
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 |
CPJ unimpressed by the return of newspaper censorship in Egypt
See article from cpj.org
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
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 |
Egypt blocks new satellite channels
Based on article from almasryalyoum.com
See also Is the Supreme Council a new predator of press freedom? from
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.
organizations meanwhile condemned the decision, saying it is a regression to the oppressive policies of Mubarak's regime.
|14th May |
Egypt plans to ease press censorship
article from bloomberg.com
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 |
Egyptian newspaper editors spared jail but convictions and fines still stand
Based on article from
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.
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 |
Heavy fine for TV news showing protestors tearing down pictures of Egyptian president
Based on article from
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
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.
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.
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 |
Ham-fisted censorship and an internet generation are redrawing the media landscape
See article from guardian.co.uk
|14th September |
Egyptian editor jailed for publishing newspaper without a licence
Based on article from en.afrik.com
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.