Monday, February 05, 2007

Going After the Press

It's bad enough with Egyptian authorities use the law to prevent freedom of the press, but it's worse when they violate their own laws to do so. That's the opinion of several human rights organizations who have criticized the Supreme Council of Press (SCP) , which is preventing publication of al-Badiel. For more, click here.

The SCP is shutting down the paper without adhering to the rules, which require them to announce their objections within a 40-day period. To date, the organization is refusing to publicly disclose the reason for their action, despite the requests and demands of the paper's editors.

Don't expect this case to be resolved anytime soon. Freedom of the Press in Egypt plays out to the whims of the government and of the allegedly independent organizations, such as the SCP, that it sets up to do its bidding. Whenever professional organizations, such as the lawyers and medical associations, show any independence, the government changes the rules and comes in to exert authority.

It's an old report -- 1996 -- but its concerns on muzzling civil society in Egypt are still valid. Click here to see the AI report. Just as I wrote yesterday torture seems to be at the core of a system of legal rights violations, I believe you will find that the crushing of the freedom of the press is at the core of any muzzling of civil society.

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