When CPJ launched its appeal for discussion under the hashtag #EgyptLastWord, I said I didn’t expect “nationwide acts of solidarity” from within Egypt. I am happy to be wrong.
Over the weekend, hundreds of Egyptian journalists spoke up against the false choice given by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government between their freedom and fighting terrorism. In a joint statement (which has 588 signatories as of this writing) they said, “Standing up to terrorism with a shackled media and sealed lips means offering the nation to extremism as an easy prey and turning public opinion into a blind creature unaware of the direction from which it is being hit or how to deal with it.”
In doing so, the journalists defied many of their own editors, who had pledged almost blind support for al-Sisi’s government on October 26. Of their editors’ viewpoint, the journalists said: “(Their pledge) did not distinguish between the face of terrorism, and the incorporation of new fascism. It did not reflect the journalistic community. It represents a betrayal of the readers’ right to knowledge… [and] to the nation’s right to a free press that confronts terrorism equally as it confronts tyranny.”