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Egypt’s timid press lashes out at harsh measures aimed at media, journalists

Egypt’s timid press lashes out at harsh measures aimed at media, journalists

They’ve cheered for officials at news conferences. They’ve smeared government critics. Egypt’s reporters threw their support behind a 2013 coup, becoming a mouthpiece for the new, military-backed regime.

But this month, Egyptian journalists didn’t roll over for authorities. In an unusual moment for this tightly controlled country, the media openly opposed a government initiative, one that would have jailed reporters who published information contradicting official statements about terrorism operations.

Egypt’s official press union successfully lobbied the cabinet to amend a counterterrorism bill that would have established the jail terms. It was a rare act of public dissent in a country whose rulers have grown increasingly repressive since the coup. Some reporters say they hope the gesture will inspire a broader movement for a free press in Egypt, as the government steps up its persecution of journalists.

“There has never really been press freedom in Egypt, but now we are confronting a far more violent state,” said Khaled al-Balshy, vice president of the Egyptian Press Syndicate, which led the effort to negotiate with the government over the jail terms.

Source: Egypt’s timid press lashes out at harsh measures aimed at media, journalists