Saturday, May 11, 2019

World Press Freedom Day 2019 : Bad time in Egypt

Last week, the world celebrated or rather commemorated the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May and it does not need the genius to say that it comes at very hard times for Egyptian press and media.
In an irony, the 2019 theme of the World Press Freedom day is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections times of disinformation”.
World Press Freedom Day 2019
This year's theme 
It is like a slap in the face considering the amount of disinformation shared on a daily basis in the Egyptian mainstream media

More red lines and more taboos have been forced by law this year thanks to Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation and its bylaws or organize media in the country.
Those bylaws are not imposed on the state-owned press but state-owned and private media as well the social media accounts with more than 5000 followers.

You know how bad those bylaws are bad when you see someone Pro-regime/Pro-army figure like Mostafa Bakry attacking them saying that they would make people forget there was media or press in Egypt after all.
“We are shutting it (the media) down completely,” He said in March admitting indirectly that “they are already shutting it down”.
He also claimed that President Sisi would not allow those bylaws to pass.
Nothing happened so far.
The National Council For Human rights also slammed the bylaws saying that they were unconstitutional.
But yet again, since when the Constitution is respected in Egypt !?
The Supreme Council for Media Regulation did not stop here, it became also a body to monitor TV shows in Ramadan this year.

In its annual index for press freedom in 2019, Reporters Without Borders “RSF” listed Egypt in its “Very Serious Situation” list.
Egypt ranks currently 163 in the 2019 World Press Freedom index going two places down from 2018.
It is not a surprise at all.

When you open’s Egyptian profile in RSF’s official website, your eyes will meet the following words “One of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists”.
I do not see any proper coverage or discussion on why Egypt is in that position in the first place in the Egyptian mainstream media.
Already Reporters without borders official website is banned in Egypt in the first place among hundreds of websites.
This tells you much. I lost counting already.
Needless to say, some will claim that this is another conspiracy on Egypt from international NGOs and Mars to the end of the last.

On the occasion of World Press Freedom, I can’t ignore the fact two Egyptian women journalists Magy Michel and Nariman El-Mofty have won the Pulitzer prize making history for the time for covering the war in Yemen as the press should.
It is an Egyptian press history and it is not their first prize in these couple of months for their coverage for Associated press “AP” of the war in Yemen exposing its ugly face with their Yemeni colleague videographer 
Needless to say, the news has been covered shily in the Egyptian press because you know it may make some regional allies angry.

They are not the only Egyptian media figures making history recently.
International Publishers Associations “IPA” awarded its 2019 IPA Prix Voltaire which supports defenders of freedom to publish to imprisoned publisher Khaled Lutfi.
Founder of Cairo-based Tanmia publishing house, Lutfi was sentenced to 5 years in prison in a military trial in February for allegedly spreading rumors and divulging military secrets for publishing and distributing the Arabic translated version of “The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, by Uri Bar-Joseph.
The Angel book speaks about Ashraf Marwan.
IPA called on Abdel El-Fatah El-Sisi to pardon Lutfi, hopefully, he will be among those who have been pardoned last week.
This is just a glimpse of news we have those days.

If some think that the margin of press freedom and freedom of expression led to the ouster of Mubarak then they must take a cue from what happened in Tunisia, Syria and Libya because the lack of freedom of expression made people revolt there in the first along with dictatorship and corruption.

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