News

September 25, 2018

Egypt : RSF decries government takeover of Cairo newspaper Al Mesryoon

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Egyptian authorities to rescind their decision to take control of Al Mesryoon, a daily whose Cairo headquarters was stormed by the security forces yesterday in the latest government step to eliminate all criticism in the media.


The decision to confiscate Al Mesryoon (which means “The Egyptians”) was announced a week ago by the justice ministry commission responsible for confiscating property deemed to belong to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Equipment was removed during yesterday’s raid.

 

Al Mesryoon’s confiscation is arbitrary and must be rescinded,” said Sophie Anmuth, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “The Egyptian authorities have yet again demonstrated an inability to tolerate criticism, no matter how moderate. Any person or media outlet that upsets the government is now automatically accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, and that is enough to be targeted.”

 

The government newspaper Akhbar El Yom has been put in charge of running Al Mesryoon, which will automatically result in a change in editorial policy. This is what happened when Akhbar El Yom was put in charge of Daily News Egypt, a formerly independent newspaper, last year.

 

Al Mesryoon editor Gamal Soltan, who is currently out of the country, told the Egyptian newspaper Katib that he had tried, so far in vain to intercede with Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate, which now has a pro-government stance.

 

Al Mesryoon’s confiscation comes as the Egyptian authorities continue to tighten their grip on the press, TV and Internet. Their latest measures have included draconian new media and internet laws.

 

Independent journalism is dying in Egypt and readers can barely get access to it online because hundreds of websites have been blocked since last year. With at least 39 professional and non-professional journalists currently held in connection with their reporting, Egypt is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.