Monday, November 9, 2015

Another Not-so great day for freedom of press and expression in Egypt !! Updated

Updated on Tuesday : Heba Morayef has just announced that Hossam Bahgat was released and he called them.

According to his lawyers including Khaled Ali , he was released from detention at military intelligence.
Early Monday morning we woke up to know that independent investigative reporter and human rights activist Hossam Bahgat is going to be detained for 4 days pending investigations according to the military prosecution on charges of spreading false information.
Hossam Bahgat 
Till now, it is unclear where Hossam Bahgat is detained.
Yes, it is unclear where he is detained and this is alarming.
A joint statement issued by a group of Egyptian human rights organizations demanded the unconditional immediate release of the human rights activist and investigate journalist.
Several human rights organizations and activists called for a protest as journalists syndicate in Cairo in solidarity with Hossam tomorrow at 5 PM.
As you may have known, the arrest of Bahgat made the headlines around the globe as he is a renowned human rights defender yesterday and so it was not a strange thing to find the UN secretary general issuing a statement about his detention today.
Here is what Ban Ki Mon said who is concerned and worried as usual.
The Secretary-General has learned with concern of the detention of Egyptian human rights defender Hossam Bahgat on 8 November, reportedly in connection with an investigation in which he is accused of publishing false information that harms national interest. Mr. Bahgat is a member of UNDP's Global Civil Society Advisory Council and the founder of the group Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.  This is just the latest in a series of detentions of human rights defenders and others that are profoundly worrying to the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General again underscores the importance of safeguarding freedom of speech and association in Egypt.  He strongly believes that pluralism and vibrant civil society are key for achieving long-term stability in the country, including the guarantee that all peaceful voices are heard and represented.
There are very active hashtags about Hossam Baghat like in English for example “#HossamBahgat” , “#FreeHossam” and “#IStandWithBahgat” while in Arabic, you got “#Hossam_Bahgat”, “#Solidarity_with_Bahgat”, “#Freedom_For_Hossam” and “#Where_Is_Hossam”
Moving to another worrying news about freedom of expression in Egypt.

Yesterday, a veteran TV host on a local State TV channel was suspended from work and was referred into investigations at the Egypt’s Radio and TV Union for daring to criticize corruption and asking El-Sisi, the current president of Egypt to stand against corruption especially in municipalities and to hold officials accountable for their actions.
Last week, Azza El-Hanawy asked El-Sisi to hold officials accountable for their actions reminding him that he appointed them and he himself is accountable in front of the people during the end of her on-air TV show on local Ch.3.
Here is her word.
Azza El-Hanawy’s word to El-Sisi.
Ironically,Ch.3 had a low viewership but this week that clip has become a viral in Egypt.
The head of the Egyptian Radio and TV Union aka State Radio and TV Essam El-Amir claimed that he suspended El-Hanawy because she dared and went off script. He also claimed that she lost neutrality and shared her political views with the viewers.
Strangely the veteran TV host did not really criticize El-Sisi that much or in a rude way.
There has been a huge campaign against Mrs. El-Hanawy in Pro-Sisi news websites.
Interestingly, Azza El-Hanawy was suspended for a year and 8 months during the rule of Mubarak and was suspended for a year during the rule of Mursi for political reasons.
Moving again to the press and that jazz taking place in Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper and its co-founder.
Earlier Yesterday the founder of Al-Masry Al-Youm and businessman tycoon Salah Diab was arrested along his son Tawfik from their villas.
They were photographed while wearing handcuffs in an unprecedented way when it comes to figures from Egypt’s Elite business class.
Already Diab was involved in a corruption case probe that goes back to 2011. His assets were all frozen on Friday along 18 other suspects including none other Gamal Mubarak’s father-in-law Mahmoud El-Gamal. The case involves the land acquired by those 18 businessmen for the elite gated community compound “New Giza”. Already I was told that this case of New Giza is the true corruption case of Mubarak’s era.
Personally, I am amazed that suddenly that the public funds prosecution suddenly remembered this case.
Anyhow, Salah and Tawfik Diab were not arrested on Sunday and were photographed because of this corruption case as it turned out that they are accused of illegal possession of weapons !!!
Already Tawfik Diab is not involved in the corruption probe and he was detained 4 days pending investigation for the illegal possession of unlicensed weapons.
Now, earlier today Al-Masry Al-Youm editor-in-chief decided to stop columnist Gamal El-Gaml from writing in the newspaper.
El-Gaml wrote on his Facebook page that his column was suspended as it seemed his latest series of articles about El-Sisi regime was the reason why Diab was arrested !!

بيـــــــــــــــــــان:......................كتبت على سحابة: "فلتسقط الرقابة".. فصادروا السماء- الآن حوصرت تماما، و...
Posted by ‎جمال الجمل‎ on Sunday, November 8, 2015
The new-acting editor-in-chief did not deny that he stopped El-Gaml from writing in the newspaper because the newspaper was re-organizing its relation with sources and state institutions !!!!!!
Gamal El-Gaml used to write a series of articles called “The Abbasids tales”  about El-Sisi and his regime . He was attacking El-Sisi and his regime and his media.
I do not read for El-Gaml because in the past I know that he used to be a Pro-Sisi but it seems that he turned against him eventually after seeing what was really happening in Egypt.
Friends told me that “The Abbasids tales” series was actually a good one. You can find it here along with the archive of El-Gaml in Al-Masry Al-Youm. I began to read it and it was good, but I do not find it outrageous to the level of suspending it !!
As much, I follow Salah Diab’s saga interestingly, I am angry that a writer had to price for what he writes in his column in a so-called liberal newspaper like that.
Al-Masry Al-Youm is Egypt’s biggest liberal or once a liberal independent newspaper.
Did not I tell you that it was not-so-great day for freedom of press and expression in Egypt !?


  1. Hossam Bahgat or Khaled Ali would make much better presidents than terrorist criminals like Sisi, Tantawi, or Mubarak.

  2. "I do not read for El-Gaml because in the past I know that he used to be a Pro-Sisi"

    Z, if I remember correctly, you yourself once supported or voted for Sisi.

    1. you are mistaken , never did that and you can go back in this blog to check that


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