Egypt witnesses increased media control as elections approach
|Saturday, October 16,2010 09:38|
According to government officials the recent crackdown on independent media outlets stems from what it describes as its efforts to regulate unauthorized channels and not politically motivated.
However as parliamentary elections approach, the latest moves including banning television stations from airing programme, such as the popular television programme, al-Qahira al-Youm, presented by journalist Amr Adeeb, ousting prominent editor in chief of the Dostour paper, Ibrahim Eissa and ordering media companies register for permits before sending out SMS text messages to other mobile phones suggests otherwise.
Nevertheless officials have denied accusations that political pressures led to the actions which have been condemned by the public. Mohamed Abdul Dayem from the Committee to protect Journalists has described it as a disturbing trend. He maintained that it was unhealthy for the Egyptians to be deprived of news sources especially with the approaching elections. Egypt 's strongest political opposition the Muslim Brotherhood has faced regime oppression and attempt to obstruct any path it decides to take for campaigning including the recent restrictions on the SMSs.
The Arabic network for human rights issued a statement criticizing the measures asserting that the recent incidents indicate clearly that the government plans to control all media outlets before the slated November elections.
Even by local standards the recent crackdown on media outlets may be categorized as harsh. Those targeted most by the clampdown are the MB who has faced repression from the Egyptian government for over five decades.
Journalists also have been physically assaulted and intimidated by security forces while covering elections and the current trend is a further tightening of control over the press ahead of the fraud which is expected to take place in the parliamentary elections.