Press freedom reports

Reporters Without Borders (RsF) qualifies Egypt’s press situation as “difficult.” Egypt is ranked 146th in its 2007 World Press Freedom Index (down from 133rd in 2006). In its 2007 annual report, RsF states that “hopes had been raised by the prospect of a press law reform, but when President Hosni Mubarak presented the changes to parliament on June 28, proposals by the national journalists’ union, notably to decriminalize media offences, had been ignored. Many privately owned media-outlets protested and staged strikes and sit-ins.”

The report also noted that “the regime cracked down on internet freedom and at least seven cyber-dissidents were jailed in 2006. A state council administrative court endorsed in June an information and communications ministry decision allowing the authorities to block, suspend or shut down websites considered a threat to 'national security.' Blogger Kareem Amer was jailed on November 6, 2006 for posting criticism of Islam on his blog.”

The annual World Press Freedom Review by the International Press Institute observes that “Egyptian journalists are pushing the limits on independent reporting imposed by the state and are covering taboo subjects with increasing regularity. Nonetheless, they continue to face difficult challenges posed by repressive laws and aggressive police interference. Violent attacks against over a dozen journalists reporting on protests in May demonstrated how far authorities are prepared to go to limit critical coverage of domestic affairs. Recognizing that satellite television and the Internet are providing audiences access to a wider scope of information and opinion, the authorities stepped up their efforts to block access to online information and increased their harassment of cyber-dissidents, with one blogger being brutally tortured in police custody this year.”