Okasha is now facing charges for calling President Mohamed Morsi to be killed. His privately owned television channel, Al-Faraeen (Pharaohs) was taken off the air after he blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the recent attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in the Rafah-Sinai crossing.
Similarly, the editor of al Destour newspaper (A liberal paper), Islam Afifi is being charged with publishing what the court is calling, “false news and rumors insulting the president.”
The irony behind the two arrests is that Morsi only recently met with the heads of various Egyptian media outlets, promising there would be no restrictions on the press. During the Mubarak era, the simplest article about his health would land journalists in prison.
The aforementioned trials are the first since President Morsi became president in June and is leaving liberal activists uneasy about his intentions. Some see it as a means of the Brotherhood attempting to curb freedom of expression in Egypt. Prominent blogger Bassem Sabry called the incident on his Twitter account: “Three more Egyptian editors-in-chief being summoned for investigation for "insulting the president," says Shorouk. Egypt is a fascist state.”
Television plays an important part in the Egyptian people’s lives, particularly after the revolution, as many networks propped up either supporting the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) or criticizing them. Since many Egyptians are illiterate, they depend on television and radio to tell them the story of what’s happening in their country. When it comes to state supported media, something as simple as protesting the Mubarak verdict in Tahrir can be twisted into a celebration of the verdict. Regardless of how the media manipulates the people, its undemocratic to crackdown on dissent.
In terms of Okasha’s case, by US law it is considered a death threat and would land him in jail as well as a court case. To me this is feasible, but if you’re criticizing the president and his policies (true or not), this is unprogressive to say the least.
If giving Morsi a chance (As I have claimed in my previous post) means sinking back into Mubarak era policies, then it won’t be long before Egypt steps back into its past entirely -- if not worse. This kind of system is exactly the type people feared the Muslim Brotherhood for. Too much power in one man’s hands will surely bring Egypt to a neo-civilian dictatorship.
In order for this not to happen, the Egyptian left has to take preemptive measures before things get out of hand and its too late to save Egypt from these draconian policies.
Leftists: Tread carefully and watch, but don’t give up without a fight.By Holly Dagres, Aslan Media Columnist