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Egypt's Alaa El-Aswany to discontinue writing weekly column

The prominent author and columnist says 'only praise is allowed nowadays' in Egypt

Ahram Online, Tuesday 24 Jun 2014
Alaa al-Aswany
Alaa al-Aswany (Photo: Reuters)
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Prominent Egyptian columnist and author Alaa El-Aswany said late on Monday he would be refraining from publishing his weekly column since "only one particular opinion is allowed nowadays."

"Dear readers, I have stopped writing in Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper. Thank you for having read my weekly articles and, God willing, we will meet elsewhere," El-Aswany declared on his official Twitter account.

"Criticism and difference of opinion are no longer allowed," he added in another tweet, "Only praise, at the expense of the truth."

El-Aswany's decision perpetuates a discernible trend witnessing a number of dissenting voices falling into silence.

In February, established critical writer and novelist Belal Fadl discontinued his regular column in Al-Shorouk, accusing the newspaper of having censored his article.

Fadl wrote on Twitter at the time that no article of his had ever been banned under the rule of ousted long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, former military chief Hussein Tantawi or deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Al-Shorouk's editor-in-chief, Emad El-Din Hussein, denied however that any censorship had been exercised on Fadl or any other writer, claiming the article had been withdrawn from print for containing a factual error. 

Earlier in June, Egypt's top satirist Bassem Youssef also said the "enormous pressure" being placed on him and his crew compelled him to bring his show, El-Bernameg, to a halt.

Youssef stated that he realised the current environment "is not suitable for the show."

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