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Egypt's 'civil servants' told not to criticise president Morsi
Diplomats and journalists say they are being pressured to abandon their opposition of the president
Dina Ezzat, Friday 28 Dec 2012
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Egyptian journalists protest against "restrictions on media" in front of the journalists' syndicate on 4 December (Photo: Ekram Ibrahim)

Some Egyptian diplomats and media personnel have complained that they are being pressured by their bosses into refraining from criticising Egypt president Mohamed Morsi.

Opposition forces have frequently accused Morsi of attempting to curb freedoms since the influential Muslim Brotherhood group propelled him into office in Egypt's first freely contested elections earlier this year.

“I was summoned into the office of the assistant (foreign) minister; he said we were all partners in making the (January) Revolution a success and now we should be sensible to help the president deliver the hopes and dreams of the Revolution," said a young diplomat about what he considered as an explicit warning by his boss.

"He added a few incoherent words about the national role of the foreign service, its independence and so on; then he asked me to be ‘careful’ and not to confuse my role as a diplomat with that of an activist."

According to this diplomat, who asked for his name to be withheld to spare the disclosure of the identity of his boss, other young diplomats were given the same warnings.

“One of them was told that his overt opposition to the president would undermine his chances to go a good post and another was told that the minister (of foreign affairs) is so angry with his ministry being looked at as disloyal by the president,” the same diplomat added.

During the past few weeks, some diplomats have declined to bow to orders issued by Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr to promote the president’s political choices, Ahram Online has learnt.

Others have declined to observe the referendum over a controversial draft of the constitution. In the two cases the minister received written and open letters from the concerned diplomats.

Meanwhile, on their internal diplomats' Facebook group, the Lotus, Egyptian diplomats have openly criticised the president’s decisions and what they perceived as the "unsatisfactory state of foreign relations due to the choices of the president".

To prompt an end to this, the minister had re-issued a decree, which was in place during the transitional rule of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), to prohibit discussion over state affairs through the Lotus under the pretext that this attitude "poses a threat to state secrets”.

Restrictions on media?

The attempt to rein in criticism against President Morsi at the foreign ministry is not unique in key state bodies.

Editors and broadcasters at the state-run Radio and TV channels have been rebuked, according to their accounts, by the minister of information and his aides for their participation in the activities of political opposition.

According to one broadcaster of an entertainment programme, her head of section openly told her “we have photos of you taking part in the demonstrations against the political leadership next to the presidential palace”.

“I told him he did not need get the photos because, yes, I was there and yes I would go there again and if he wants me to be legally penalised, he needs to start an official investigation into my professional conduct – otherwise he has no business with my political choices,” she said.

Meanwhile, three news broadcasters and anchors of political shows on the radio and TV say they hate being on air doing an interview with one of the opposition figure because "no matter how hard we try to force a limit on the criticism made against the president and his political decisions, our effort is never appreciated by the minister".

Minister Salah Abdel-Maqsoud, who is known for his affiliation with the Muslim Brothehrood, recently said that he would have put a member of Brotherhood members at the head of every Radio and TV section had there been enough of them at his ministry.

Beyond the state ministries, Egyptians working at some regional organisations have also complained of similar treatment.

 Two Egyptian officials at the Arab League say they received “indirect” and “polite” remarks from their heads of departments over their political activism. One said she offered to take a leave without pay if her activism was a source of embarrassment and the other said that she informed her boss that she “had participated in every day of the demonstrations of the 25 January Revolution and that today nothing is going to stop her".



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12



Sam Enslow
27-01-2013 09:43am
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Criticism and the President
US President Obama, a little more powerful than Morsy, considers it a good day if he is only called O'Dumbo in the press. We have a saying, "If you cannot take the heat, stay out of the kitchen" As Mubarak was being lead out of his palace, people were telling him how much he was loved. It is better to hear criticism than to be so isolated from public opinion.
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11



Antony
02-01-2013 05:46pm
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Look around B4 U speak
Defend government policy or resign, Israel's ambassadors are told Top security chief tells envoys to 'quit or go into politics' if they disagree with settlement plans Matthew Kalman Jerusalem Tuesday 01 January 2013
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10



Sherry Selvaggio
29-12-2012 08:22pm
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Amen brother!
I will pity the fools of the whacky Muslim brotherhood! Continue to try and sensor the media! You will open a brand new can of whoop a__! Courtesy of the red, white and blue.
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9



Abdur Razzaque
29-12-2012 10:48am
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Egypt's 'civil servants' - Employed by the govt. for the peoples
The civil servants (the bureaucrats) are hired and paid by the peoples money. Their primary job regardless the nature of the govt. to ensure the service for the people. It is their first and most primary job and nothing else. There should be no room of politics or criticism against the govt. for you. Because the govt. is the direct representative and a mirror of the peoples wishes and aspirations and they are directly responsible and questionable to the common peoples, not you are!
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8



Freedom Fighter, Aladdin
29-12-2012 10:08am
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Non-Islamic Behavior
You should obey obey your divine orders. LOOL.
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7



Aladdin, Egypt
29-12-2012 03:58am
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To #2, Twisted Logic
Professional media reprots present facts to public. It will be violation of the Charter to prevent them from reporting facts. By your logic, there will be no freedom of speech unless you owe the media. I tell you that you are not telling the truth.
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6



mohammed moiduddin
29-12-2012 12:46am
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To Ahram: can you report about food, crime, security, and traffic
I am really getting sick of the opposition and their fight morsi. We really don't care anymore. We want to know how people are doing? What's the solution to the economy. How is the job market. What is the traffic like any solutions. Please tell us what the ministers are doing.
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5



mohammed moiduddin
29-12-2012 12:43am
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As a foreign diplomate you represent the country not YOURSELF
These people need to be fired. If you can't support the views of the president and keep your own to yourself then you should be fired. No country allows that. Its like the vice president, foreign minister, or military general doing what ever they want. Morsi is elected and he is the people's voice not some low wage diplomat
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4



Ali
28-12-2012 09:47pm
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Yes
Good
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3



antony
28-12-2012 05:34pm
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truth or flight of fancy
The duty of a diplomat is to promote and defend government policies and views. Colin Powell was staunchly against many policies of G W Bush. But he never-ever said anything publicly against his policies. Diplomats have a duty. If they cannot do their duty they must quit their jobs. Going to media, by a diplomat, against Govt. policies in any country will mean end of their careers. Why Egyptian authorities are not taking action against them is a mystery!
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