In Egypt last week a journalist was barred from travel without official explanation, a reporter was accused of criminal defamation over a 2015 investigation on child prostitution, and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi defended Egypt's freedom of expression record. An appeal date was also set for the Journalists' Syndicate leaders who were sentenced this month to two years in prison.
News of the hospitalization of an imprisoned photojournalist after security forces cracked down on an uprising in Borg al-Arab prison tops the list of attacks on the press last week in Egypt. Also last week: Two leaders of the Journalists' Syndicate were sentenced to two years in prison each but remain free on bail; a presidential pardon included two journalists who had nearly completed their prison terms; a court ordered the release of Ismail Alexandrani, but the prosecution successfully appealed; and finally, Mahmoud Abou Zeid Shawkan was at last allowed to tell the judge hearing his case that he is a photojournalist.
Four journalists were detained November 11 amid a heavy deployment of security forces in Egypt's cities in response to calls for nationwide protests over economic reforms. The protests were fewer and smaller than anticipated, but journalists were still harassed and, in some cases, arrested, according to local and international media. One journalist remains in custody. Separately, a gag order on an investigation into the funding of civil society organizations remains in place, and courts are due to hear two criminal defamation cases brought by public officials against reporters.
Restrictions against the press continue in Egypt, with ongoing trials of journalists, some of whom have been in detention for more than three years, allegations that a TV station was ordered to drop a planned broadcast of an interview with a former official, and a reporter detained while trying to cover a sensitive story. Egypt has been a leading jailer of journalists for more than a year, and the country's press is regularly harassed. CPJ has documented the following press freedom violations in the past week:
Corruption is one of the most dangerous beats for journalists, and one of the most important for holding those in power to account. There is growing international recognition that corruption is also one of the biggest impediments to poverty reduction and good governance. This is why journalists on this beat must be protected, including by multilateral lending institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which just concluded their annual meetings in Washington D.C.
Sitting uncomfortably in her chair because of a soccer injury, the Jordanian radio host Diala Dabbas said, "I know we are banned from talking about the king, his family, and the divine, but now I am also afraid to talk about anyone else who could be considered a 'religious symbol'."
The Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders today sent a letter to Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, to draw his attention to the prosecution of three journalists from the independent daily newspaper, Azamn.
In the small, polished Moroccan capital of Rabat, pictures of King Mohamed VI, who took the throne in 1999, hang in many shops, offices, and hotels. In most of these, he is clean-shaven, smiling, and wearing a suit: a modern monarch. His image is part of the official narrative of the country as a place of moderation and progress.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.