MEMRI has published a report titled “Muslim Brotherhood Efforts To Take Over Egyptian Media.” The report begins:
During the decades of President Hosni Mubarak’s rule in Egypt, the media served as the official mouthpiece of the regime. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ruled the country following Mubarak’s ouster, sought to perpetuate this situation, and therefore continued to constrain the media, curbing its attempts to become free and independent. Now a similar policy is being pursued by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which since coming to power has been acting to seize control of the media and use it as a tool of the movement. This has sparked intense criticism from media members wishing to defend free speech, their livelihood, and their ability to influence public opinion. The tension between the MB and the media has been building since the presidential elections, during which many media outlets took a highly critical line against the MB. This was especially evident during the weeks prior to the first round of voting, when the media created the impression that Mursi was weak and that his chances of winning were slim. It was also manifested in statements and articles by minority groups and liberals, who expressed fears regarding the Islamization of the country in light of the MB’s growing power. The tension even reached the point of incitement and violence when Tawfiq ‘Okasha, owner of the television channel Al-Faraeen, incited to kill Mursi, prompting a protest by MB supporters during which demonstrators assaulted another journalist known for his anti-MB positions. The authorities responded to the incitement by temporarily shutting the channel down. Since the beginning of August, several additional developments have indicated an attempt by Mursi and the MB to control the media and curb its criticism against them: 1. Saleh ‘Abd Al-Maqsoud, who is affiliated with the MB, has been appointed information minister in Hisham Qandil’s government. 2. The Shura Council (upper house of parliament), which is dominated by the MB, has replaced some 50 chief editors and board directors of state-owned newspapers. 3. Copies of the independent daily Al-Dustour were seized after the daily criticized Mursi and the MB. 4. Lawsuits have been filed by the president’s office and the office of the MB General Guide against journalists who allegedly published false reports about the MB.
Read the rest here.
In what appears to be a gesture towards international pressure, various media are reporting that Egyptian President Morsi has issued a decree rescinding preventive detention for publish offenses and the freeing of a newspaper editor jailed for alleged publishing crimes.
A post from earlier this month reported on efforts by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to control the nation’s media.