Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Tue109 2018

Last update19:14 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Issues > Human Rights
Silencing the editors
Silencing the editors
Ibrahim Eissa, editor of Egyptian opposition newspaper al-Dustour, was due in court on 1 October for "defaming" President Hosni Mubarak. Eissa regularly talked of Mubarak’s failing health in his columns, and even ran such stories on al-Dustour’s front page.
Thursday, October 4,2007 08:17
by Jonathan Spollen newstatesman.co.uk

Observations on Egypt

Ibrahim Eissa, editor of Egyptian opposition newspaper al-Dustour, was due in court on 1 October for "defaming" President Hosni Mubarak. Eissa regularly talked of Mubarak"s failing health in his columns, and even ran such stories on al-Dustour"s front page.

Eissa"s trial was postponed, which typifies Egypt"s stop-start press freedoms. As the most confrontational of the country"s editors, Eissa, too, has become a symbol of the struggle for press freedom in Egypt.

Until a few years ago all Egyptian papers were state-owned, after Nasser nationalised the press in the early 1960s. In recent years, the government has relaxed restrictions, giving rise to the emergence of hundreds of new independent publications. The government may arbitrarily arrest opposition politicians and break up peaceful protests, but for the most part it has allowed the press to report this openly.

The first warning shots were fired in January this year when al-Jazeera producer Howayda Taha was charged with "harming Egypt"s national interest" while researching a documentary on torture in Egypt"s prisons. Taha was ordered to pay a fine of $5,200 or face six months imprisonment.

The arrests of Eissa and four other editors - also charged with defaming the president - lead many to worry that a brief period of press freedom is disappearing.

Some analysts believe the regime became nervous about speculation in the press that Mubarak"s son Gamal was being groomed for the presidency.

Another theory is that the US eased its pressure on Egypt to democratise. Lawrence Pintak, head of the Centre for Electronic Journalism at the American University in Cairo, says before Egypt"s 2005 elections, the US pushed for democracy to try to improve its image in the Middle East. "Democracy became flavour of the month," said Pintak. "But after the [electoral] success of the Muslim Brotherhood, and then Hamas in Gaza, talk of democracy dropped off."

Eissa interprets the crackdown on the press as a sign of weakness. "The regime is panicking," he said in an interview recently. " [They] see anyone that writes the truth about them as dangerous."

Magdi El-Gallad, editor-in-chief of a leading broadsheet, Al-Masri Al-Youm, admits to being "very worried" about the direction Egypt"s press is headed, especially given how far it had come. "We fought so much over the past five years for press freedom," he said. "We are in a critical situation right now and we cannot predict what will happen. There could be very tough times ahead."

As we go to press, Egypt"s independent and opposition newspapers were planning not to publish editions on 7 October in protest.


Posted in Human Rights  
Add Comment Send to Friend Print
Related Articles
Security Prevents Egyptians from Showing Solidarity with Journalists, Workers
Forsaking the Egyptian Free Press
Rights groups accuse Egypt of limiting press freedoms after court jails editors
Egyptian editors jailed for defaming Mubarak
Four newspaper editors sentenced to a year’s labour for libelling president and ruling party
Egyptians Stand For Freedom Of Press In Cairo
Egyptian journalist probed over Mubarak health rumours - Feature
Egyptian Journalist Questioned by State Security Over Mubarak Health Reports
TV journalist assaulted by plain-clothes police, human rights lawyer prevented from flying to London
Journalists harassed in run-up to second round of legislative elections
Muslim Brotherhood Condemns Killing of Journalists in Iraq
Brotherhood’s MPs Introduce Bill on Imprisonment of Journalists
Human Rights Report on Legal Pursuits of Journalists
Former housing minister withdraws defamation complaint against journalists
Freedom for Journalist Amira Malsh
Egypt: Al-Jazeera Bureau Chief, Three Print Journalists Held
Egyptian Journalists Demonstrate For Freedom of Press
Journalist arrested for taking photos without permission
Journalists, lawyers on trial for revealing election fraud
State of Journalism in The Arab World
Court Adjourns Trial of Four Journalists on libel charges .
MB Demands Immediate Release of Foreign Journalists Held In Gaza
Reuters Journalist Harassed By State Security Agents
Scores of Egyptian journalists
Al Masri Al Youm Journalist Regrets Parade Photos
Egyptian Security Beat Journalist Mohammed Abdul Quddus
81 journalists killed - the deadliest year since 1994
Journalist Ahmed Ezzuddin Suffers Slipped Disc in Prison
Attacks on Journalists and the Press in Muslim Countries
Egyptian Journalist Photographers Stage Protest Against Egyptian Police Aggressions
MB’s Journalist Abdul Qoddous, 20 Others Arrested
Egyptian journalist defiant despite tough struggle
Message from Son of Detained Journalist Ahmed Ezzuddin
Egyptian Journalists Protest, Demanding Release of Ezzuddin
Egyptian Journalists Deny US Official Access To Their Syndicate
Concern about increasing violence against women journalists
The Police Broke into a Journalist Blogger’s Residence
Journalist Abdul Moneim Mahmoud Jailed Over Fake Case
We Support AlJazeera Journalist Howaida Taha
Egypt: TV journalist detained for denouncing torture
MB Parliamentary Bloc Backs Egyptian Journalists, Praises Role Against Regime’s Tyranny
Jailed MB blogger and journalist among 25 hunger strikers
New "Arab Insight" Journal Available from WSI Cairo
Journalists under Pressure
Egypt: Intimidation and assault on journalists and peaceful demonstrators must stop
Two journalists being held for publishing internal security memo on terrorist threat
Room of UK Journalist Yvonne Ridley Stormed in Cairo
Reporters Without Borders, Police attack journalists trying to cover demonstration in support of jud
MB Parliamentary Bloc Backs Egyptian Journalists
Ikhwanweb Backs AlJazeera Journalist Howaida Taha
Morsi Demands British Kidnapped Journalist Alan Johnston Immediately Released