Egyptian journalists have bemoaned the increasing rate of crack down on media professionals and repression in the country. The country was in 2015 ranked as the ‘worst country for jailing journalist’, in a report.
Journalist and Political Analyst, Abdulla Al- Sinawi said the year 2015 was with certainty, ‘one of the worst years’ in the history of Egyptian journalism and media.
“Egyptian media was faced with, for the first time, and in the most dangerous of ways, a full exposure – its image in Egypt, and its image in its field and the world, is, to a great extent, miserable. Miserable in the political sense, and in the literal sense, and in the professional sense, where language has deteriorated and chaos has become the norm, and characters have been defamed and assassinated and humiliated.”
the year 2015 is, with certainty,one of the worst years in the history of Egyptian journalism and media. Egyptian media was faced with, for the first time, and in the most dangerous of ways, a full exposure,its image in Egypt, and its image in its field and the world, is to a great extent, miserable
Cairo is holding 23 journalists in jail, compared with 12 in 2014.
Writer and Journalist Ahmad Naji, on Saturday January 2, 2015 was acquitted by a Cairo misdemeanor court on charges of violating general morals and encouraging indecent sexual behavior. Prosecutors said he violated public morals in his ‘explicit text’ in a chapter of his novel, ‘The Guide for Using Life’ which was published in Akhbar al-Adab magazine in August last year.
“You can’t say, for example, that (President Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi is the one who wants to jail Ahmed Naji, or the journalists that the general prosecutor keeps imprisoning people. But you suddenly find yourself faced with a situation where they say the media has no manners and that these journalists need to be disciplined, so we need to imprison them. So this kind of slave rule, and the competition between the different authorities in Egypt, whether it’s the religious authority or the businessmen or political authority, they all have a negative effect on the state of freedom of expression and press freedom in Egypt.”
Amir Al- Feky,a journalist at the Daily News Egypt, an independent English newspaper said the crackdown on media houses is not just a mere perception, adding that many journalists have imposed self-censorship out of fear.
“We have seen newspapers being shut down, articles that have caused problems, journalists being jailed – so, it’s not just a feeling I have, the repression is there, strong repression actually, and what’s even worse than the crackdown is that there’s a lack of information. So, the situation is very difficult, because between the threats and pressure and lack of information, we’re lost.”
Novelist and Columnist, Alaa Al- Aswany has been very critical of President Al Sisi’s government. The former supporter of Sisi has been holding public seminars since the January 25 uprising.
“Of course, sadly, the authorities in Egypt don’t know that it’s not right for journalists to be punished for doing their job. A journalist is a transmitter of facts – a journalist, anywhere in the world, as you know, sits with criminals and terrorists, and the good people and everybody else, because their job is to transmit the facts, and thus, it’s absolutely unacceptable for journalists to be punished for doing their job, and it’s a very unfortunate thing. I hope that will change, because it’s unacceptable.”
Egypt and China, topped the list of countries with the highest number of jailed journalists in 2015. Notably was the trial of three Al Jazeera journalists, Australia’s Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy from Canadian and Egyptian Baher Mohamed who were sentenced to three years in prison.
However, in September of the same year, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pardoned 100 prisoners including the three Al Jazeera journalists.