Egyptian Chronicles: Mr. President , I beg to differ !!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mr. President , I beg to differ !!

In an interview on CNN aired on Monday with Wolf Blitzer, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said that Egypt “enjoyed unprecedented freedom of expression”.
I do not want to exaggerate but I want to assure that Egypt enjoys  unprecedented freedom in the media. No one in the Press or TV was barred.   It has never happened in my presidential term that someone was held accounted for what he said whether a journalists or not.
I highly and seriously beg to differ.
It is true that officially the Presidency does not get involve in harassing the journalists and non-journalists from prominent figures expressing opposite views to the regime. The President’s loyal supporters from newspapers owners, channels owners as well journalists and TV hosts do that.
We have a lot of examples.
Starting with Bassem Youssef whose show “AlBernmag” was stopped after one episode from the after the Presidential elections then he was fined LE 50 millions.
If we got unprecedented press freedom
why are not those guys on TV ? 
third season in 2014 on Saudi-owned MBC Misr
Youssef said loud and proud that he would not accept to lower AlBernmag show’s ceiling so he could have once again on air.
Now Bassem Youssef is living abroad and could not come back to Egypt to the level of missing his own father’s funeral and burial for fear he would be arrested.
Youssef wrote in Arabic why he did not want to come back mentioning how journalists are harassed in Egypt for expressing their opinions in a long reply on a Facebook post by writer Samer Amr Atef on why he does not come back. 
Close to presidency journalists like Ahmed Moussa and Mostafa Bakry as well El-Sisi supporters were happy that Bassem Youssef’s show was cancelled and continue to attack accusing him of being a traitor.
FYI according to the alleged Sisi leaks, Sisi’s office in the ministry of defense was annoyed from that “boy”.
TV host Reem Magued’s TV show was cancelled on ONTV after two episodes only because the guests spoke about January revolution. The channel claims that it was about the ratings, but everybody knows it is untrue.
In the end, she resigned from the TV channel.
TV host Yosri Fouda’s popular and successful TV show was ended or cancelled to be accurate because of pressure according to the ONTV founder and owner Naguib Sawiris.
TV host Dina Abdel Rahman’s TV show was cancelled as well on CBC TV channel.
None of those TV hosts was approached by any Egyptian TV channels because they are branded to be Pro-Jan25 TV hosts who dare to criticize the government and the regime.


Let’s go to journalists and writers
Popular Egyptian writer Belal Fadel does not write anymore in Egyptian newspapers and the TV series “The people of Alexandria” is banned in Egypt because it criticizes the Egyptian police before the 25 January revolution.
According to the Freedoms committee in Egypt’s Journalists syndicate, there are 32 journalists currently in jail including photographer Shawkan and journalist Abdullah El-Fakhranay.
This year, severals newspapers including Al-Watan , Al-Masry Al-Youm , Sawt Al-Oma and Al-Sabah newspapers were confiscated by authorities were confiscated for at least ten times.
Even for non-journalists , Prominent figures expressing different and opposing views are stalked in  a way or another.
Ahmed El-Merghany , a young footballer was suspended from playing in his team “Wadi Degla” for criticizing El-Sisi on his Facebook account in July.
El-Merghany had to apologize for remarks he said about El-Sisi earlier September so he can find a club to play in because all the football sports clubs refused to sign with him this season.
Already I am curious to know what kind of Freedom of expression the President was referring to in his interview with Blitzer because I doubt that the man who envies late President Nasser to have so-called “supportive media” would really understand the true universal meaning of freedom of expression.
If you truly believe in freedom of expression and press, you won’t have Pro-police/Military anti-freedoms journalists like Ahmed Moussa or Mostafa Bakry in your entourage circle.
In case you do not know in time of President Nasser , Egypt knew the true meaning of police state. There was no opposition and the media kept feeding the public lies till the people woke up on the bitter defeat of the six days war.
Historically, I would dare and say that the Freedom of speech and media in Egypt from 11 February 2011 till 3 July 2013 was truly unprecedented in Egypt since 23 July 1952 despite all the hardships journalists and TV hosts faced during then.
Simply , if we have unprecedented freedom of expression or press in Egypt , Bassem Youssef , Reem Magued , Dina Abdel Rahman and Yosri Fouda would have their shows back on air and Belal Fadel would return back in Egyptian newspapers.
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1 comment :

  1. ha ha ha ha, funniest line der President Sisi has come up with yet! :) ....from a foreigner's perspective that is.
    :(

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