It seems like only yesterday—day before, if we’re counting—that we reported on Mohamed Morsi’s persecution of his political adversaries.
Today, it’s the turn of the press:
President Mohamed Morsy has largely picked up where Hosni Mubarak left off in terms of media freedom.
In Article 215, the National Media Council is made responsible for regulating all forms of media including the digital press. Notably, amongst its duties is to “observe the values and constructive traditions of society.”
Karim Abdel Rady, a lawyer with the Arab Network for Human Rights, expresses concern that this could open the door to the imposition of restrictions on media freedom in the name of morals and Sharia.
“In Mubarak’s era, we faced the problem of insult crimes. It now seems that in the coming period we’ll also be facing problems such as blasphemy crimes. It will be easy to interpret any media content as being in conflict with society’s morals where individuals are criticized,” Abdel Rady says.
He expects increased restrictions on media freedom in the year to come, particularly if Islamist currents gain a majority in the upcoming People’s Assembly elections.
“The media is currently the target of Islamist groups. They will pursue it through legal cases, sieges and protests…
On the ground, restrictive moves have already been unfolding. In the summer, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Shura Council has appointed the heads of 45 state newspapers.
Meanwhile, in October, and in an unprecedented move, the Shura Council dismissed Al-Gomhurreya editor-in-chief Gamal Abdel-Rehim after the newspaper published a story claiming that former members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had been banned from travel due to corruption investigations against them.
My attitude toward Egypt and the Arab Spring in general can be summed up by the great quote from the movie “Working Girl”.
Cyn: Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will.
Oops! wrong quote—though it’s a keeper.
Here we go:
Mick: Tess, will you marry me?
Mick: Ya call that an answer?
Tess: You want another answer, ask another girl.
Ya want press freedom and equal protection under the law? Elect a different government.
You can have all the elections and constitutions you want, doesn’t make you a democracy. Never will.
“An orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now,” Mr. Obama said…
“To the people of Egypt, particularly the young people of Egypt, I want to be clear: We hear your voices,” the President said. “I have an unyielding belief that you will determine your own destiny, and seize the promise of a better future for your children and your grandchildren.
… the beginning of a new chapter in the history of a great country.”