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Friday, 18 October 2019

Confiscation of Dostour newspaper raises fears over freedom of the press

Several activists who are critical of Al-Dostour newspaper for its anti-revolutionaries stances criticise a decision to silence the paper, worry that the Brotherhood is reincarnating Mubarak-style limits on freedom of the press

Randa Ali , Sunday 12 Aug 2012
Al-Dostour's issue on 21 June covering a Brotherhood leadership alleged secret meeting to discuss actions against their opponents. The headline reads: "The massacre of the century... In Egypt!"
Views: 7468
Views: 7468

New issues of privately-owned daily Al-Dostour were confiscated from the paper's offices following a decision by the head of Giza primary court on Saturday.

A number of complaints have been filed against the newspaper's chairman Reda Edward and editor-in-chief Islam Afifi, accusing the newspaper of insulting president Mohamed Morsi and inciting sectarian strife in Egypt in the case of the village of Dahshour this month.

Hassan Badie managing editor of Al-Dostour accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being behind the charges and the decision to raid the offices.

"The Muslim Brotherhood's youth have been demonstrating frequently outside the newspaper headquarters," Badie told state-run MENA, describing their alleged actions as a threatening message.

Al-Dostour newspaper is known for its anti-Brotherhood coverage. In one particularly provocative headline, on the 21 June front page, the newspaper declared "The massacre of the century...In Egypt!" The article went on to accuse the top leadership of the Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice party of cooking up a massacre in Egypt if their candidate Mohamed Morsi failed to win the presidential race in run-offs against Mubarak-era minister Ahmed Shafiq.

The managing editor urged the Press Syndicate to stand by Al-Dostour in the face of the "this fierce campaign against freedom of the press and expression."

A statement published on Al-Dostour's website accused security forces of raiding Al-Gomhouriyya Print House, where the newspaper gets printed. The statement goes on to say that while officers demanded that the print moulds be handed over, officials at the print house refused as they had no permit.

Although many revolutionaries and activists are deeply critical of the editorial policies of Al-Dostour, they are also critical of the judicial moves being taken against the paper.

Ibrahim Eissa, Al-Dostour's former editor-in-chief, sacked in 2010 for his anti-Mubarak views, described the confiscation of the newspaper as a return to "the time of one-party rule."

Eissa was sidelined in 2010 when the newspaper's ownership was transferred to head of Al-Wafd's party Sayed Badawy, and the paper went from being a liberal opposition paper to a regime-friendly publication.

In 2007, Eissa who now acts as chief-editor of Al-Tahrir newspaper, was sentenced to a year imprisonment  for "insulting the president," but later pardoned by then president Mubarak.

"We may disagree with the newspaper's editorial, but still our reference will always be freedom of expression," Eissa wrote on his official Facebook Page.

Revolutionary activist Alaa Abdel-Fatah, who spent months in jail last year for opposing military rule, similarly said, "We've been sent to prisons many times for insulting the president, this accusation is a threat to freedom."

Khaled Ali, the former leftist presidential candidate and labour lawyer, has also voiced his opposition to the attacks on Al-Dostour, stressing that freedom of expression and of the press cannot be compromised.

On his Twitter account, human rights lawyer Gamal Eid described the raid as an "attack of thugs."

Eid, who runs the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, wrote, "Whoever justifies beating a journalist for whatever reason and the raiding of press with no legal permit instead of using the law is a thug."

Activist Nawara Negm, who faced military questioning last year, and once described Al-Dostour newspaper as a voice for "the remnants of former regime" also condemned the attack on Twitter saying that "respecting the president will not come by force. A million confiscations will not force us to respect the president if his stances do not command respect."

Last year, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces temporarily suspended publication of privately-owned liberal daily Sawt Al-Umma for allegedly intending to publish criticism of some military leaders.

Debates around freedom of the press have been particularly contentious in Egypt recently following the announcement of editors-in-chief of state-owned publications by the Shura Council in which Islamists are dominant.

Many journalists and activists voiced fears that this heralded an imposition of an Islamist-dominated agenda on the press.

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12-08-2012 03:02pm
Former secularist
It seems the anti-Islam press in Egypt believes in freedom of disinformation rather than freedom of information. If the Islamists were to indulge in violence, they would have done this when they were persecuted and murdered by Abdul Nasser, Sadat, ad Mubarak. The anti-Islam groups are only cheapening and exposing their bankruptcy by publishing such garbage.
Comment's Title

12-08-2012 03:15am
I don't know many western Media that would last long encouraging violence and directly insulting the Head of State.
Comment's Title
12-08-2012 06:49pm
Your comment
Islam is the problem. Perhaps you'll understand it in 200 years time or the mean time, no electricity, no servieces, women tretated like donkeys, no freedom of expressionj, religion and so on.
12-08-2012 03:01pm
Western media
I know those who voice a contrary opinion not in line with Western mainstream media, that are not in the interest of Israel have their carreer ruined. I dont know on witch planet you live! Arabs have an inferiority complex and are delusional on Western "democracy".
12-08-2012 01:54pm
Freedom of the press
I agree with you sir you don't know much about democracy and the rights of citizens in democracy so I would suggest you go back to school reeducate yourself and come back to voice an educated opinion and I think you don't. Much about the western media or most importantly the rule of law in any civililzed country . You do not unilaterally and by force close down anewspaper or TV because you disagree with thei opinion . You simply take them in a court of law to argue and settle your grievances . That is what you do in civilized democratic country all over the world not just in the west

Mohamed Sulaiman
12-08-2012 01:48am
Mechanical Engineer
If someone abuse Islam or Prophets by voice or writing so you will call same as "Freedom of Expression"!? Why you hate Brotherhood and its leaders? Its stand on Islam!? So you are hating Islam and Prophet Muhammed !? Democracy is the rule of majority!
Comment's Title
12-08-2012 02:32pm
Mohamed,democracy is not the rule of the majority. Democracy is the majority making sure that the rights of the minority are proctected. The constitution will govern the land,not the majority.
12-08-2012 02:08pm
Freedom of expression
Just two points to answer you . First Mr Mohamed Morsi is not the PROPHET peace be upon him . Second the Moslem brotherhood is certainly not ISLAM and does not represent all Moslems .
A woman
12-08-2012 01:56pm
Who is abusing?
Wake up! W H O is abusing Islam????????? I think the answer is very clear and simple... Those who hide their greed of power behind Islam!

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