Use of censorship weapon in service of personal interests Old regime continues to control media freedom

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Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) condemns the strict censorship measures taken by Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik against some media channels, which culminated in the interruption of some programs, preventing certain individuals from showing on mass media and outlining general instructions for one of the media channels in service of personal interests.

Those measures began on Thursday the 24th of February when Amr el Leithy hosted journalist Ibrahim Eissa in his talk show “One of the People”. Ibrahim Eissa was expressing his rejection of the Shafik government describing it as an extension of the previous regime. He also talked about the cleansing of corruption which should involve everything related to that regime. The following day, during a rerun of the program it was interrupted after 45 minutes, followed immediately by nationalist songs. The channel did not provide any explanation for the interruption.

El Wafd newspaper said that Dr. Shafik intervened personally to prevent Eissa from showing on TV claiming that the “Prime Minister of Egypt should not be criticized”.

In the same context, Mahmud Saad, submitted his resignation from Egyptian television after attempts to force him to host the Prime Minister at the same time when it was planned to host the 25th of Jan youth. He refused the imposition categorically and expressed his rejection of this government which is an extension of the previous regime, explaining that the restrictive instructions, regulations and censorship imposed on him by TV officials have driven him to resign.

Those procedures drive us to question the achievements allegedly made by the revolution in the field of media and the slogans regarding freedom of the press, lifting of censorship and the measures that should have followed. Those restrictive measures come at a time when official announcements claim to cancel the censorship department “in the conviction of the state that media freedom should be granted”.

While the Supreme Military Council has cancelled the ministry of mass media, it has all the same appointed army general Tarek el Mahdi, in charge of moral affairs of the armed forces, as chairman of the TV and Radio Federation.

AFTE believes that those procedures are illegitimate in view of the revolutionary state of the country and the need to maintain the legitimate achievements of the revolution, which should include freedom of mass media, and freedom of official media institutions.

AFTE calls upon all relevant bodies to undertake urgent measures to abolish any censorship of artistic production, lift control over official media institutions and appoint a civilian to chair the TV and Radio Federation, to ensure non control by state authorities suffered by Egyptian media over the last thirty years, and to abandon the hegemonic fake media discourse which spread false awareness to Egyptian citizens.

محتوى المدونة منشور برخصة المشاع الإبداعي نَسب المُصنَّف 4.0