Thursday, July 21, 2011

Setback for press freedom in Egypt

The Guardian

"In the aftermath of the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt may get a freedom of information law - but there are also signs of renewed harassment of the media.

Magda Abu Fadil reports that the country is struggling to build a more democratic state and a freer press.

She writes that "the real power behind the throne" is the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which sent media organisations a directive in March "not to publish any subjects, news, statements, advertisements, pictures about the armed forces or its leaders before checking with the Morale Division and Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance Administration, given their authority in reviewing such matters in a bid to protect the nation's security."

In May, a leading activist, Hossam el-Hamalawy, was hauled in for questioning by the SCAF for criticising its human rights record.

In early July, SCAF's chief, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, swore in Osama Haikal, former editor of the nominal opposition Al Wafd newspaper, as the new minister of information.

The ministry was considered to be a "ministry of disinformation" under the ousted Mubarak regime....."

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