Egyptian Chronicles: Too much Freedom of Press For two weeks

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Too much Freedom of Press For two weeks

In the past two weeks, three newspapers have been confiscated because they dared to speak about President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi directly and indirectly.
From two weeks ago, Weekly “Sout Al-Omma” newspaper’s first edition on Thursday was confiscated at the state-owned Al-Ahram Printing Press because it published a report about El-Sisi’s sick mother during then.
Sout Al-Omma's original Front page before confiscation
“The President’s Sadness” was about El-Sisi and his visits to his sick mother at the hospital despite his schedule.
Hours later, the once-strong vocal newspaper against Mubarak, SCAF and Morsi changed its first page and removed the report and posted instead of it a report about the Prime minister.
The Frontpage  after changing the content. 
Days later, El-Sisi’s mother passed away.
Once a strong opponent to Mubarak, the newspaper's editor-in-chief Abdel Halim Qandil is a strong Sisi supporter. Nasserites have that thing for the military after all.
Qandil stated that he was not angry because “it happens with everyone” despite the decision to
He also added that despite it was more of a social news or rather a humanitarian news meant to make the people know more about the President as a human , the newspaper was confiscated.
On Saturday, a group of the newspaper journalists and reporters organized a protesting standing at the Journalists Syndicate staircase against the decision to confiscate the first edition.


Earlier that day, we found out that Al-Sabah newspaper was confiscated because of an op-ed.
According to the head of the Investigations department in the newspaper Ahmed Atef, the newspaper was confiscated also at Al-Ahram Printing press because of an op-ed about Mohamed Badran, the leader of Future Party.

جريدة الصباح اتمنعت من الطبع النهارده فى (مطابع الاهرام) بسبب مقال عن محمد بدران رئيس حزب مستقبل وطن#تحيا_مصر
Posted by Ahmed Atef Ramadan on Saturday, August 22, 2015

Badran, the former head of Egypt’s University student unions is now from the top Pro-Sisi youth representatives in the media. Claiming to be the youngest partisan leader in the world, Badran supports El-Sisi and his policies. Al-Sabah newspaper already published an interview with him
earlier where he claimed that there were no political detainees in Egypt from two weeks ago !!
After that interview, a writer and journalist Ahmed Rafaat wrote an op-ed “ How to become the President’s child in 9-steps” slamming Badran and describing him as Safwat El-Sherif-in-making.
A copy of the op-ed 

Here is the op-ed, you can read it here clearer.

#المقال_الأزمةكيف تصبح طفلً للرئيس فى تسع خطوات أحمد رفعتهذا المقال هو رد على حوار جريدة «الصباح» مع محمد بدران، رئي...
Posted by Ahmed Atef Ramadan on Saturday, August 22, 2015

Owned by famous businessman Ahmed Bahgat and headed by journalist and TV host Wael Al-Abrashi, the newspaper is not that popular but its name became famous thanks to the Confiscation decision.
Mohamed Badran denied having any relation with the confiscation of the newspaper. 
Then on Sunday, Weekly  “Al-Mesryoon” Newspaper issue was also confiscated at Al-Ahram Printing press.
From what I understand the Pro-Islamist newspaper was confiscated because of its editor-in-chief Gamal Sultan’s column calling El-Sisi to stop playing the role of the Islamic thinker.
ِAl-Mesryoon's Front page on Sunday
Here is what Gamal Sultan wrote , yes it is available online after all because we are in 2015.
Al-Mesryoon newspaper says that Al-Ahram Printing Press officials asked them to change that op-ed slamming El-Sisi to print the issue.
Al-Ahram Institution CEO Ahmed El-Siyad El-Naggar said that Al-Ahram printing press had nothing to with the confiscation blaming an unnamed party of censorship aka The infamous press censorship of the regime.
The Cabinet denied any relation with confiscation and its spokesperson even claimed that he never heard of Al-Sabah or Al-Mesryoon.
Egypt’s Journalists syndicate spoke about those newspapers and their confiscation.
Already what happened to those newspapers is against the current Egyptian constitution which stipulates the following in article "71" :
It is prohibited to censor, confiscate, suspend or shut down Egyptian newspapers and media outlets in any way. By way of exception, they may be subject to limited censorship in times of war or general mobilization. No freedom restricting penalty shall be imposed for publication or publicity crimes. As for crimes related to the incitement of violence, discrimination between citizens, or impingement of individual honor, the Law shall stipulate the penalties therefor.
This is not the first time it happens this year , in fact several newspapers were confiscated earlier this earlier like Al-Watan newspaper which was confiscated three times and had to change its content in three different occasions including a report about El-Sisi and those stronger than him and an op-ed about the Presidential Palace son who writes a Pro-Regime Anti-25 January daily column in Youm 7.
Nevertheless, this is too much for freedom of press in two weeks for God’s sake.
 One must expect this and more after all  Abdel Fatah El-Sisi said it before that he envied President Nasser for the media he had in the 1960s in 2014 a meeting with intellectuals ironically !!
This shows how he thinks about the media and its role in the society. He believes that the Nationalist propagandist media is the perfect for Egypt despite that Pro-regime one-voice media was among the reasons why we were defeated in 1967.
Nobody dared to criticize El-Sisi when he said that revealing statement except the very pro-Revolution few.
One can imagine how it would be if Mohamed Morsi dared and said those few words or those papers were confiscated in his time !!!!!
Now the government and the regime can confiscate printed newspapers as much as they can and want but we are in 2015 not in 1965.
A little example: Very few know about El-Sabbah and its op-ed against Badran , after that confiscation order thousands have read and shared the op-ed everywhere.
Same thing happened to Al-Mesryoon.
Again we are in 2015 not in 1965.

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