Thursday, September 15, 2011

Egyptian junta re-enacts an old law to inhibit press freedom

The Guardian

"Revolutionary change is rarely straightforward and is often characterised by two steps forward and one step back and, sometimes, two steps back.

Look at the latest state of play in Egypt where the ruling military council has reactivated the emergency law once enforced by the administration of deposed premier Hosni Mubarak.

Journalists fear that this law, ostensibly reintroduced in the wake of the storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, will be used to muzzle the media.

According to the independent daily, Al-Masry al-Youm, the law allows civilians, including journalists, to be tried in state security courts and to be detained indefinitely.

The announcement came despite the supreme military council's commitment to annul the law by September, which was a core demand of the revolution.

A day later, police raided the offices of an Al-Jazeera affiliate, Mubasher Misr, and shut it down. Broadcasting equipment was seized and the station's chief engineer, Islam al-Banna, was arrested and detained overnight.

The authorities also jammed the station's live broadcasts from another location, at the media production city, outside Cairo....."

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