David Sanger writes: The contrast between Myanmar, once one of the world’s most closed societies, and Egypt made me revisit my recent travels with Mr. Kerry in terms of what restrictions were placed on us journalists.
In November, Mr. Kerry zipped through Central Asia on a tour of some of the world’s most repressive states, including Turkmenistan, whose leadership shares Mr. Sisi’s approach to anyone who utters a thought the government finds distasteful. Still, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov allowed international reporters to record his encounters with Mr. Kerry, though local Turkmen journalists were kept at a far remove.
The King of Bahrain, who knows a thing or two about clearing the streets of critics, invited reporters in for the start of his meeting with Mr. Kerry last month, and, with a deep understanding of how to keep them docile, fed them at the palace before they were packed off.
Even China’s leaders routinely let the news media pool in, though they do their best to ignore them.
Egypt used to do the same — in what now looks, by comparison, like the days of openness when Hosni Mubarak was still president. [Continue reading…]