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Wednesday, June 8, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Opposition: Egypt's military employs 'censorship, intimidation' against media

WASHINGTON — Less than four months after it seized power, Egypt's military regime has been harassing the media.


Opposition sources said the military has been arresting and interrogating newspaper editors over critical reports. They said the military has threatened to prosecute journalists for their stories.

"The military, and particularly the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces continues to employ censorship, intimidation, and politicized legal proceedings to cow critical journalists into silence," the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

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The New York-based group said the Egyptian military, which receives $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid, has escalated harassment against the media, Middle East Newsline reported. On June 2, military prosecutors were said to have questioned the editors of the opposition Al Wafd daily regarding a May 26 article on an alleged political deal between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. One editor, Sayid Abdul Ati, was accused of publishing false information.

On May 30, an Egyptian television anchor and a blogger were summoned by military prosecutors. The anchor, Reem Maged, was said to be under investigation of her talk show on the previous day in which dissident blogger Hossam Hamalawy was interviewed. Military police commander Gen. Hamid Badin filed a complaint against Hamalawy, and Magid was designated a witness.

The committee said the military also forced the cancellation of television shows as well as monitored websites for dissent. One journalist was interrogated regarding a story that the military conducted so-called virginity tests on women protesters.

In March, Egyptian publications were banned from publishing unauthorized information on the military. The order on March 22 called on Egyptian newspapers, radio, television and websites to submit all sensitive stories to military review.

"The military asserts that it is the guardian of the revolution," CPJ program coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem said. "If that's so, it should encourage, not repress, freedom of expression."

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