Press Freedom Archives
March 06, 2012
Salafi Lawmaker forced to resign over nosejob (and false claim...)
Amusing as this is, the story of the Egyptian Lawmaker Resigns After Lying About Nose Job - NYTimes.com from the Nour party is slightly indicative of something. When they were utterly excluded from power, these guys got an air of saintliness in part from never really being held up to scrutiny. I rather think that is how this idiot thought he could get away with this (that is getting some nose work but claiming he got beaten up by thugs). It will be vastly harder for the Salafistes etc. to keep up their image now that they are in the limelight.
July 17, 2010
Quixotic Arab Sat Plans
I am bemused by this report. I have a very hard time believing there is market space for yet another Arab Sat in the news space (although perhaps it might convince the USA to finally put to death the laughing stock fiasco of its state run news service, Al Hurra)
Sky News considers launch in Arabic | Media | guardian.co.uk
BSkyB is in talks about launching a Sky News-branded 24-hour Arabic language service in conjunction with an Abu Dhabi-based private investor.
It would compete with the Qatar-based al-Jazeera and other Arabic language news services in the Middle East and North Africa.
Sky said that the channel will launch within the next two years if the discussions are successful.
The new channel, which would be a 50/50 joint venture between the two parties, will be based in Abu Dhabi and have bureaux "in most major regional and international news centres".
It would be broadcast free-to-air across the Middle East and North Africa regions offering, according to Sky News, "independent and neutral coverage of the news agenda".
"The Middle East is undergoing rapid economic and social development and is becoming an increasingly attractive region for media investment," said John Ryley, head of Sky News. "This venture would build on our existing strengths as an international news provider and bring the Sky News brand to a new audience. Discussions are progressing well and we look forward to bringing a new approach to Arabic-language news."
Well, I suppose if some gullible Emirati is willing to plump for this....
July 15, 2010
CNN's Intellectual Terror
However, last week, Octavia Nasr was fired not for Ajami like views but for her expression of respect to Fadlallah after the cleric passed away.
Consequences of this act:
1) Erosion of freedom of speech in the US for some journalists who will chose to shut up due to fear for their carreer.
2) Erosion of freedom of speech for many Arab Americans whose atavic self-censorship, bred by decades of dictatorship, will be awakened.
3) Help the case of those who claim Jooz control US media.
January 21, 2010
Tariq Ramadan Beats City Hall
Yesterday U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton granted a waiver of the bar on U.S. entry imposed on Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, in response to the the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals' recent landmark decision in the denial of a U.S. visa to Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan. The visa denial had been based on Ramadan's ostensible "material support of a terrorist organization," in the form of charitable contributions to two organizations, one French and one Swiss, providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people. The U.S. State Department later retroactively determined that the donation recipients supported Hamas, and that Ramadan, as a "material supporter of terrorism," was effectively barred for life from the U.S. - in spite of the approved work visa petition that should have allowed him to take up the teaching position he had accepted at Notre Dame University.
November 23, 2009
The Color of Monkey: Egyptians Draw A Bead On Haifa
Guardian (UK) angel Nesrine Malik tells of lyrics by an Egyptian writer, sung by sultry songstress Haifa Wehbe, that refer to a child pining for his "Nubian monkey". The term, supposedly referring to a toy, is apparently tied in with long-standing negative color-race attitudes among lighter-skinned Egyptians and other Arabs towards the swath of swarthy Nubians in Egypt's south, and blacks in general. Nubia's bias guardians have requested some sort of legal sanction against the song. The issue brings to rare local public airing the color biases of much of Middle Eastern society, or in Ms Malik's words, the "endemic culture of racial stereotyping in the region ". It apparently also extends to a standard of beauty that elevates a "light-skinned, catty-eyed and slim-nosed" Lebanese look, though the description of the Haifa Wehbe song as "a mindless children's tune sung by an equally vacant performer" does suggest that the term "catty" is not restricted solely to the field of ocular esthetics. (PS -- Just love those commenters below the article at the Guardian. Sheesh.)
August 12, 2009
Morocco & The Poll, encore
I noted with mixed feelings that Global Voices picked up my somewhat intemperate remarks (habitual as that may be) on the Morocco poll. Being somewhat allergic to too high a profile: Global Voices Online » Morocco: Bloggers React to the Banning of Magazines
In some ways the idiocy of the ban in fact was at least logical and almost... brave. On the part of the No Comment on the King partisans. I mean, banning a largely favourable poll at least has the flavour of consistency and principle. After all, it is a useful one insofar as relative to liberal critiques of the King, the Palace can easily point to the poll and say, Ha, but for me things would actually be less liberal as popular opinion is distinctly unliberal - which is of course absolutely true and for anyone in the region not a suprise. That abstracts away from the question of whether Authoritarian Liberalism [ironic eh? - of course liberal only in certain areas] is a good or bad thing.
Before turning to Minister Naciri's habitually cretinous public comments to Jeune Afrique and the at least reasonable call for a "dialogue" about press, a side word. Branding the anti-banning movement as "Je suis un 9%" (I'm a 9 percenter) was profoundly stupid on the part of the critics. Really, profoundly stupid. Just as cretinous as the Government's ham-handed reaction to the poll (and its clumsy, tone deaf public comments).
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August 03, 2009
Morocco: The Cretin Wing of the Makhzen strikes back (idiotic censorship
I just noticed old friend Ibn Kafka's note on the Moroccan Government seizing Tel Quel (a local weekly that is addicted to shock journalism) Le sondage interdit au Maroc - The Poll Banned In Morocco.
In grosso modo, it appears that the Cretin Wing of the Makhzen decided to seize Tel Quel (I have never thought much of Tel Quel, it never manages to go beyond its addiction to shock journalism, and frankly I don't think much of the reporting in areas where I feel well placed to judge - hardly though a reason to seize and destroy the edition).
Ben Kafka notes
Larbi, le bloggeur qui bloggue plus vite que son ombre, a publié une dépêche AFP révélant quelques résultats plus détaillées du sondage que l’Etat marocain refuse de voir publier dans la presse marocaine (sachant bien évidemment que n’importe quel crétin et sa belle-mère pourront le lire sur le web)/ Larbi, the blogger who blogs quicker than his shadow published the AFP article revealing some of the more detailed results of the poll, that the Moroccan state refused to see published in the Moroccan press (understanding evidently that any cretin and his mother in law can read it on the Web.See also Le Monde.
I'll put this in English later as well as some more comments, but this is truly moronic. The poll is in fact rather positive for the Monarchy, and banning its publication really reeks of the worst idiocy possible. However, it does reflect the old-school Makhzen mentality that remains deeply entrenched in the government. While the King (M6) has his faults, gross and obvious stupidity has never seemed to be one of them. (Subtler forms, perhaps arguable, although I remain favourable disposed to-wards him, I mean look at his confrères...) However, the bootlicker Naciri went for broke. So yes, all the world should know that the Makhzen bootlickers could not stand the idea of the Moroccan population knowing that an international poll found "only" 91% approval relative to M6's first decade. More on the poll later as well.
Old stupidities die hard.
[Ahem, two typos correct 15 Aug 09, accidentally wrote Ben Kakka... sorry mate, entirely an accident)
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June 16, 2009
Can Iran Firmly Sustain An Election? Links and Stuff
Some numbers crunching here and analysis with gossip here. Word of mouthy reports of human rights leaders being arrested here. A danger of hanging chadors. Links and or leads to them, courtesy of Aqoulite Eva Luna who is too engaged to otherwise post.
So, who won?
May 27, 2009
Iran Blocks Facebook Before Election
Tyranny likes this.
Ahmadinejad sends Bad Karma to opposition.
December 14, 2008
But. . . is it good for the shoes?
(Apologies to an old parochial expression.) President Bush encounters one meaning of leading a sole superpower when a journalist in Baghdad tosses his footwear at the US head of state. The arch terrorist reportedly shouted "This is the End". Jim Morrison is sadly incapable of comment.
November 01, 2008
(UPDATE) Starving for Detention: Pro-Saudi-Dissident Hunger Strike
A hunger strike in Saudi Arabia on behalf of Saudi dissidents in custody is set for November 6-7. It is apparently the first such hunger strike in Saudi Arabia, or at least the first publicly known one.
"To the government, we want to say that you can't put prisoners of conscience in jail without facing consequences," said Walid Abu-Alkhair, a writer and lawyer in Jiddah. "And to the activists, we want to say, you are not alone. We want to show that when you put human rights activists in jail, a new wave will come and take their place."Food for thought, or non-food as the case may be. (UPDATE: full information release/specifics further down below).
July 06, 2008
In Islamic Republic, Blog Deletes You
So it seems that Iran is considering the death penalty for blogging:
MPs on Wednesday voted to discuss as a priority the draft bill which seeks to "toughen punishment for harming mental security in society," the ISNA news agency said... the draft bill also includes "establishing weblogs and sites promoting corruption, prostitution and apostasy", which is a new addition to crimes punishable by death.
March 11, 2008
Blocked again: a blessing?
My personal blog, Secret Dubai diary, has been blocked once again by the UAE state censors. Etisalat, the TRA, the Dishdashes-That-Be: they are all the government, so it makes little difference who actually actioned this. Like the last time this happened, in July 2001, there has been no correspondence of any kind from UAE officials, no warning or request to remove content, and no reason given for the blocking.
Back then, my policy was to keep my head down and be ultra careful about posts and user comments for some time. I always had been careful, and my blog contained no "obscene" material and minimal direct criticism of the UAE or Dubai governments, which is probably why after some arcane internal review, it was unblocked.
February 17, 2008
Whither Arab Sats? The 'Arab' (authoritarian dinos) broadcasting code
The Financial Times worthy article on Al Jazeerah's response to the Mubarek led censorship drive is worthy of some reflexion.
The key portion of the so-called media code is:
“The commitment to freedom of expression is a main cornerstone of Arab media activity, provided that the practice of this freedom should be informed by a sense of awareness and responsibility in order to protect the higher interests of Arab states and of the Arab nation,”
Of course the Arab states "higher interests" (never mind the polite outdated fiction of the 'Arab Nation') really means the interests of the dictators to provide turgid non-news. Now, taking Morocco as an example, with a relatively free-ish media under a media code that is perhaps nearly as potentially cretinous, it is true that application is as important as a law (above all in circumstances as obtain in MENA were law is more an expression of potential intent than binding law). But effects?
September 07, 2007
Bin-Laden Versus Bin-Laden, same day
Osama bin-Laden on Sept. 7 2007* -- "19 young men were able, by the grace of [God], the Most High, to change the direction of [America's] compass."
Osama bin-Laden on, um, Sept 7, 2007 -- "burning living beings is forbidden by our religion, even if they be small like the ant, so what of men?"
In addition to terrorist, criminal, fanatic, and other filth-and-foul words, we can now add "what a fatuous dick".
July 13, 2007
Sex and Dubai and censorship
It's a sad day for sex in Dubai. Or rather, Sex and Dubai, the latest UAE website to face the censors' axe.
Allegedly written by "Noora and Layala", two young Arab girls about town, Sex and Dubai is a lighthearted blog version of Sex & The City. A scarlet harlot by UAE cultural norms, the site is more Barbara Cartland when held up against the average western sex blog. While it features reasonably titillating detail, like most UAE blogs it steers clear of offensive photos or links to dating sites. It's currently the number one Google hit for "sex dubai" and the third for "dubai sex" - the advertising potential there must be phenomenal. Certainly on my own (non sex-related) blog, sex is the most common search referrer by a mile.
So how does this kind of site get blocked? Most probably through individual UAE internet user complaints. The blog had been criticised by more conservative Muslim readers, and many commenters attacked it as "shameful" and giving a bad name to the UAE. The block also came hot on the heels of a ban on social networking site Orkut, after Gulf News outed it as promoting sex-oriented communities.
January 16, 2007
Wikileaks.org leak: Site for the Whistleblower?
A new project, wikileaks.org is out of the bag, ahead of schedule. News leaked of the new site's proposal to unite international cybernerd expertise with political dissidence to create a place where persons can safely post leaked government documents with minimal fear of direct detection. The technical feasability and security value I know not, but here is where they provide basic info, with link to a sample of a leaked document allegedly from the Somali Islamic Courts movement. For MENA-watchers, or more probably US-MENA watchers, it may be a site to keenly watch.
November 14, 2006
Rack Your Brains
In a democracy, the media often twists a reasonable statement into a ridiculous soundbite which gets propagated widely, and causes unnecessary defensiveness on the part of the speaker. A far bigger problem, however, is that not enough people challenge the ridiculous claims of speakers in authoritarian countries (or indeed by speakers in the so-called free world about faraway places that their populations know little about).
November 13, 2006
Blogging In the Sand: Saudi bloggers profiled
The Washington Post Foreign Service's Faiza Ambah profiles Saudi bloggers. Featured are Fouad al-Farhan, Ahmed al-Omran, and Bandar Raffa, with references to Mystique and others. An organized group of Kingdom bloggers is in formation.
[A] growing wave of young Arabs...have turned to blogging to bypass the restrictions on free expression in a predominantly authoritarian, conservative and Muslim region. Blogging is so novel here that the equivalent term in Arabic, tadween, to chronicle, was coined only this year. But it has spread rapidly among the increasingly urban youth and in the process has loosened the limits of what's open for discussion.
Fuller quote and your (one hopes) informed comments below the break.
June 01, 2006
Rambling Thoughts on Public Space, Community, and Culture in Dubai
Dubai has long been the commercial capital of the Gulf. But much as it would like to pretend otherwise, most of what little culture it contains has been imported, and anything that looks historical only does so by virtue of a good façade. The rulers have always focused first and foremost on attracting business, and have been rather successful at this; most of the city's population has moved there from somewhere else for money. It thus differs in many ways from its next door neighbor Sharjah, whose ruler has put far more of an emphasis on retaining traditional and Islamic values, and where there is a 'decency code' and a prohibition on all alcohol.
May 29, 2006
Democracy in the UAE
Just over a year ago, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, then the crown prince of Dubai and UAE’s defense minister, and now the UAE’s vice president, prime minister and defense minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai, said:
I say to my fellow Arabs in charge: If you do not change, you will be changed… If you do not initiate radical changes, responsibly discharge your duties and uphold the principles of truth, justice and responsibility, your people will resent you. More than this, the verdict of history on you will be severe.
May 16, 2006
Census and Sensitivities: UAE & Its Minorities
Towards the end of last year, the UAE carried out its first census in 10 years. Given both the rapid demographic changes here and the promises to share the (usually classified) general data collected with the public, things sounded promising- the information gathered would be invaluable to any number of people. As my colleague SecretDubai has documented, things didn't turn out exactly as planned, not least because those being counted feared the enumerators might report them for any number of offenses ranging from cohabitation to various kinds of illegal occupancy, despite government promises to the contrary.
May 04, 2006
Morocco, Journos and Media bis, a reply
This is a bit tardy, but Issandr Bey of the Arabist had a comment on my somewhat ill-tempered take on the Moroccan journal, Le Journal Hebdo libel case judgment as well as more generally on the media there and some related developments.
As a distraction from working on a market proposal which I haven’t got the proper information on regardless, I thought I might expand on my comment on The Arabist reply.
April 23, 2006
Morocco & Media bis: Activist Pimping & Sober Reality (Updated)
Our dear friend, Bou Ardvrk once again (as a media specialist would) has another comment on the Moroccan media that has managed to annoy me somewhat, although it raises an important problem
The annoyance stems from his using as center piece some ill-written exagerated activist squeeling from "Open Democracy" - which appears to be some naive bit of internet activist pseudo-journalism site for those who believe in democracy. I suppose I also believe in democracy, although I do not particularly believe in internet activism or democracy activists.
However, the underlying issue, the Moroccan government's apparent new tactic in using court cases to slap down media that have gotten "out of line" and the highly peculiar circumstances of the case in question, Le Journal Hebdomidaire, a weekly of relatively recent vintage with quite a lot of spunk - although also with somewhat questionable journalistic standards. But then one could write that about any media organ in Morocco come to think of it.
April 15, 2006
Sliced Turki: Saudi Newspaper Cans Candid Writer
Let us return from the world of Islamofashionism and its bikini waxing to the even hairier difficulties of independent-minded journalism in MENA. Fawaz Turki, the best English-language author of Palestinian origin (sorry, Eddie Said fans), has been fired by Arab News, a Saudi-based English language newspaper. His account is here. The earlier column that he believes broke the camel's back (assuming that's a permissible figure of speech on a MENA subject) is here, relating Indonesian repression in East Timor. The author (who is based in D.C.) feels his Saudi publishers or their patrons or their government couldn't handle criticism or even mention of the abuses of a fellow Muslim state. (Other columns of his are here, but you must insert "Fawaz Turki" in the "search" function.)
February 09, 2006
Open Discussion: MENA, Muslim Minorities & Moderation [Updated II]
Where Moderation? Which Moderation? What kind?
A short post, less of The Lounsbury banging on, and more some initial reflexions on the challenge of buillding moderation. Something I touched on in my little missive: Cartoon Outrage: Salafist Entrepreneurial Behaviour, Manufacturing Incidents & the Problem of Moderation, as have my colleagues.
The core problem is building moderate consensus, in the West - with or within a Muslim minority - and in the MENA region and Islamic world at large. There is much hand-waving out there (in the West especially) about "Moderate Islam" and the like by persons who seem to define moderation as being "just like us" - that is, being up to date the latest (newly acquired) socio-political fads in secular West with respect to religion, society and perhaps even economics (i.e. the cutting-edge values of the highly secularised commentariat of the West).
[Update: The New York Times features an interesting article of some relevance to reflecting on the subject of moderation and the cartoon controversy: At Mecca Meeting, Cartoon Outrage Crystallized. Have added to comment below]
[Further interesting commentary at our friend The Father of Aardvarks (I am inclined to agree with the Father of Aardvarks in re the media's poor performance as well as my lack of enthusiasm for the 'clash of civilisations' talk) pointing to this Egyptian blog post reproducing images from al Fagr that managed not to provoke great protest when first published in October 2005.]
[Further linking:our second favourite Frenchman, Olivier Roy, has a fine article very much in line with the 'Aqoul analysis, in grosso modo this again via Abu Aardvark, who also links to a somewhat boring Mona Eltahawy editorial that for me illustrates why liberal Muslims don't get a hearing. Moderation is boring. Lounsbury, 10 Feb 2006]
February 06, 2006
Cartoon Outrage: Salafist Entrepreneurial Behaviour, Manufacturing Incidents & the Problem of Moderation [Updated]
There seems hardly any reason to provide links to this ever-escalating cycle of utter contemptible idiocy, so let me make this more or less purely opinion and my own personal analysis. I would be remiss, however, if I did not pimp our very own summary page on the Danish – Mohammed Cartoon Controversy.
I also would like to point to a fine round up of online commentary as well as highlight our dear Raf Bey’s contribution: “Why do the Syrians burn embassies but the Iranians don't?” In addition, to return a citational favour well-deserved, I point to Clive Davis’ blog commentary, and in particularly this most recent summary of rational commentary on the riots. One has to agree with his observation that the commentary he cites is “more helpful than one of Christopher Hitchens' thunderbolts on "the case for mocking religion".” Juvenile exercise of expression, but then we should be used to Hitchens being a cretin with regards to the MENA region.
The Lounsbury Discussion on the Issue
[Update: reading Wikipedia I found an online link - no longer working - to the/an Arabic dossier on the cartoons written by the Denmark group of Imams. Having given it a speed read, it appeared to me that while the dossier was written post-facto to their official meetings, its Arabic text did clearly indicate the incendiary 'extra cartoons' were not published, but were ones received by certain unidentified protest leaders, post their public protests in Denmark. That makes the provence of the cartoons less doubtful to me. The dossier was not inherently unreasonable in tone, although certainly disputable, and clearly reflected an agenda, one which I continue to think reflects the Salafist extremist fringe]
[Update II: A very interesting note thanks to Clive's comment, Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons; they were apparently offensive and unfunny. Ahem. Well. In other notes re the same article, someone desperately needs to give Muslim activists a lesson in marketing: the European Committee for Prophet Honouring just sounds... silly.]
February 04, 2006
Why do the Syrians burn embassies but the Iranians don't?
Of course, the gunmen in Gaza and the West Bank and the burning embassies in Damascus make the headlines and evening news, since they're the most outrageous images available to journalists. What bothers me in the coverage of the protests, however, is that nobody seems to analyze these protests not only within the global but also their local context, that they are all subsumed under the general "Muslims protest the defamation of the prophet Muhammad" heading.
Doesn't anybody find it at least noteworthy that the Danish & Norwegian embassies were torched in - out of all places - Damascus? That there were only small demonstrations in Cairo? That there were almost no demonstrations at all in Iran? That the number of Muslim demonstrators in Europe was - given the overall numbers of Muslim inhabitants - ridiculously low?
February 03, 2006
Background story to the "Danish cartoons" issue - and commentary
The German magazine Der Spiegel published a rather good article on the background to the "Danish anti-Muhammad Cartoons" story. I think it's worth re-publishing it here, with (my) commentary.
Twelve drawings of Muhammad printed in a major Danish newspaper have turned millions of Muslims against Denmark. And one man's mission has transformed the caricatures into the stuff of international diplomacy. The Arab world, though, isn't being given the full story.
January 30, 2006
Complete utter nonsense: "Offended by Cartoons" Muslim Pinheads Boycott the Danes
It is hard to know how to categorise this idiocy, however this arty at least gives some fuel Protests Grow Over Danish Cartoon of Muhammad, sadly for those who like to portray Muslims as fanatic cretins, as in fact there are a fine bunch of fanatic cretins to make the case.
The essential start point is a cretinous Danish paper ran months and months ago a rather idiotic competition to portray the Prophet Mohammed, and as I recall, a goodly percentage of entries were offensive nasty little Arab / Istlamic stereotypes. Frankly one got the sense of an undercurrent of bigotry in the entries.
But whatever, cartoons in a stupid Danish paper. Nothing to get one's underwear in a real not over. Danish Muslims protested and that should have been the end of it. But no, the International Ever Seeking Offence to Blow Up Issues for Exploitation Islamist Cretins Faction has gotten hold of this.
January 02, 2006
Those Kazakhs Just Can't Take a Joke
At least not when it's told by Borat Sagdiyev, the alter ego of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (perhaps better known as Ali G). Perhaps it was less than sensitive for the sixth most famous person in Kazakhstan to use an Internet domain controlled by the Kazakh government to satirize the Kazakh government, but they in return showed an extraordinary lack of humor by shutting the site down completely. They even threatened to sue.
(Borat's fans need not fear; he is up and running elsewhere.)
December 30, 2005
Orhan Pamuk and the Turkish Officer
Once a month or so, my good friend Turkish (nickname to be explained shortly) and I meet up for lunch to discuss both local and Mideast politics. Turkish is very serious, intelligent and articulate, the sort of person who thinks more than he speaks and measures every word carefully. He is also an ex-officer in the Turkish military and an avowed Kemalist, which makes for an interesting perspective. Once I asked him what he thought about Kurds and he replied with an enigmatic smile: “Kurds are Turks too, they just haven’t realized it yet”. I think he was joking, but I'm not entirely sure.
When we last met, Turkish author Orhan Pamuk was due to appear in court shortly, charged with the “public denigration of Turkish identity” for making a pointed observation in a Swiss newspaper about his country’s silence over Kurd and Armenian deaths. From FT (subscription, but I quote extensively for the uninitiated):
"Thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and almost nobody but me dares to talk about it."
His comment referred to the two most traumatic events in Turkey's modern history: the struggle against Kurdish separatism in the 1980s and 1990s and the massacre of Ottoman Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces as the empire collapsed during the first world war. The Armenian question is especially sensitive in Turkey. Armenians say the event marked the twentieth century's first genocide. Turkey rejects any such assertion, though it does not deny that many Armenians and Turks died in those terrible days…
Mr Pamuk is being tried under article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which criminalises "insulting Turkishness, the republic, and the institutions and organs of the state". If found guilty, he faces three years in jail, part of which is an extra punishment for committing his "crime" abroad.
December 27, 2005
Reporters Without Borders Challenges Egyptian Gov't's Treatment of Journalists
Reporters Without Borders (that's Reporters sans Frontieres to you Francophones) has issued a statement denouncing recent crackdowns in Egypt on journalists. In particular, they highlight the cases of Mohamed Abdul-Latif and Manal Lasheen of Al Fajr (Dawn) who apparently were sued and sentenced to several years in prison without any prior notice whatsoever, in response to a report of theirs exposing the case of an MP's cousin whose criminal sentence was served by a bribed substitute.
The journalist organization also noted the recent summoning of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist and international reporter Mona Eltahawy by the Egyptian State Security in an apparent effort to intimidate her in relation to her critical articles on the recent election cycle. (Cool MENA-interested web surfers may know that your team at 'Aqoul here appears to be the first to publicly report that action.)
December 23, 2005
Ayman Nour Verdict Today (Dec. 24) in Egypt
December 24 is the day set by the Egyptian court to give a verdict in the forgery/fraud trial of liberal political candidate Ayman Nour. UPDATE: He was found guilty and sentenced to a five-year term. He is on a hunger-strike.
Informed sources and observers say that this prosecution is a revealing indication of how far the Egyptian government will go to suppress and intimidate opposition; many argue that the fraud charge is merely a pretext to discredit and harass the liberal opposition. Indications of the government's nervousness about scrutiny has included intimidating critical journalists, as in the case of Mona Eltahawy, below.