While Egypt’s new president Mohamed Morsi may be willing to strike at Islamist radicals in the Sinai Peninsula, his Muslim Brotherhood comrades aren’t exactly behaving as moderates. New reports suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood may be initiating a campaign of media censorship of unfavorable reports on the government’s abuse of civil liberties. Ahram Online has the story:
Egyptian writer and novelist Youseef El-Qaeed told Ahram Online that state-owned newspaper Al-Akhbar refused to publish Sunday his latest article in which he criticises the Muslim Brotherhood. The paper’s new editor-in-chief Mohamed Hassan El-Banna, who was recently appointed by the Brotherhood dominated Shura Council (upper house of Egypt’s parliament), denied the ban saying that the newspaper had not receive[d] any articles from the writer. El-Qaeed said that his article entitled “Neither adherence nor obedience” denounced the Brotherhood members and supporters who beat presenters and injured journalist Khaled Salah during a Wednesday demonstration at Egyptian Media Production City against those who allegedly spread false rumours about President Mohamed Morsi and the Islamist group.
This was only one incident, but a piece in today’s New York Times suggests that the censorship extends to TV stations as well:
Last week, the authorities suspended a satellite television channel that featured a program whose host is Tawfik Okasha, a strident opponent of President Mohamed Morsi, a former leader in the Muslim Brotherhood. On Saturday, the authorities confiscated copies of the daily newspaper Al Dustour, which has published regular condemnations of the Islamist group.
Nor is the Brotherhood’s intervention limited to state-owned media outlets. Privately owned newspapers in which contributors allegedly incite “sectarian strife” have been barred from circulation as well.Despite the relatively free elections, the liberal order predicted by the twitterati and championed by the western press has not come to pass—the most recent actions by the elected government are anything but liberal. Instead, as the liberals have largely been pushed to the sidelines, it is the struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military that seems most likely to shape Egypt after the Arab Spring.