Al Jazeera’s reporters may go free, but a muzzled press in Egypt is here to stay

Dan Murphy writes: After more than a year in prison, Egypt is to release on bail two Al Jazeera journalists pending a retrial on claims that the men were involved in terrorism and supporting Egypt’s now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The conviction of Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, and Peter Greste – who was released last week – followed a farcical trial in which prosecutors asserted the reporters were running a clandestine operation out of the Marriott Hotel in Cairo. Their conviction was an international symbol of the repression of free speech in Egypt under Gen. (Ret.) Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who came to power in the wake of a July 2013 coup.

Today the work of muzzling, or re-muzzling, Egypt’s press has largely been done. Self-censorship is rampant, TV stations have been closed, and calls from the Interior Ministry warning producers and editors about their coverage are once more commonplace. Reporters Without Borders ranked Egypt at 158th out of 180 countries in its 2015 Press Freedom Index. In 2010, former President Hosni Mubarak’s final full year in office, the group rated Egypt 127th. [Continue reading…]

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