User:AndreaUOW/Egyptian media under threat

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fears have arisen that press freedom is increasingly under-threat in Egypt after the country's Al Jazeera office was raid by the country's security forces on Monday.

The raid in which the security forces ceased equipment and arrested a technician was initiated by the authorities who stated that the station was operating without a broadcasting licence and that complaints had been made by neighbours about the amount of noise coming from the station. The recently established station, which is known for their heavy coverage of Egypt's recent unrest however claim that they applied for a licence in March but received no reply.

Fears about press freedom in Egypt however have also arisen after Egypt's minister for media, Osama Heikal last week stated that the government would legally act against media outlets who "endanger the stability and security" of the country.

Concerns have also been linked to the fact that officials last week announced that they would be temporarily suspending the issuing of satellite television broadcasting licences, something Eygpt’s Chairman of general Authority for Investment, Osama Saleh said has been put in place in an atempt to improve media ethics within the country.

“This decision does not mean limiting freedom of speech, but it’s a temporrary pause that should reuslt in further organisation,” Saleh said.

“A lot of media gurus and political activisits are convinved that these channels are actually seeking to spread choas and cause splits in the population,” Saleh continued about Eygpt’s media.

Others have however disagreed with the stance that freedom of speech is being honoured and concerns have been expressed that the country’s future elections will suffer because of the apparent threat to freedom of speech.

“What is happening now indicates that we will not have free elections. If they can interfere at any point to censor information, then this will really affect elections,” Mohamed Zaree, a Program Manager at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, told website Bikyamasr.com.


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