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16.12.2018 14:22 Age: 92 days
Category: Media Matters

Egypt’s press freedom free-fall continues

Near-record high of journalists jailed around the world according to report

Alleged repeated attempts at gagging the press in Egypt by successive governments, have seen the country labeled Africa’s biggest contributor to global violations of journalist’s rights, a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has revealed.
The report, released on Thursday 13 December, stated that some 251 journalists around the world were in jail “for doing their jobs” as of 1 December 2018. Turkey (68), China (47) and Egypt (25) were accountable for over half of those imprisoned.
Editorial Director of CPJ and compiler of the report, Elana Beiser, was irked by the idea that the trend of 250 or more journalists becoming consistent over the last three years.
“It looks like a trend now”, said Elana Beiser in an interview. “It looks like the new normal”.
National security and incitation of violence are almost always cited as the reason for crackdowns on media houses and journalists, with the raid on Mada Foundation for Media Development by national security agents in October 2015, from which politics and human rights reporter Hisham Jaafar still finds himself incarcerated, as well as the raid on Shadi Abu Zeid’s (another politics and human rights reporter) home, serving as examples.
In an e-mail interview with IFEX’s Joey Ayoub, International Advocacy Officer at the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), Amira Abdelhamid, said the Egyptian government had succeeded in closing the physical public space for direct action by activists, and that its influence was now precipitating into the digital space.
“Laws such as the protest law of 2013 and the state of emergency that was declared in April 2017 enabled the complete closure of the very little space that was left for direct action and free speech”, said Amira.
“More recently, the government has continued its crackdown on free speech and expression in the virtual sphere, where Egypt witnessed a surge in the number of individuals prosecuted for expressing their opinions online”, she added
Somalia, Rwanda, Morocco, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon and Algeria makeup the rest of African countries with imprisoned journalists. Originally published on
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Monday, 11. March 2019
10:36 - Media houses face lengthy suspensions
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