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Limiting Freedom Of Expression In Egypt

Egyptian protesters read newspapers under a tent in Tahrir Square.

A criminal trial has been ordered in Egypt on charges of defamation for two Egyptian journalists.

A criminal trial has been ordered in Egypt on charges of defamation for two Egyptian journalists Magdi El Galad, editor-in-chief of El-Watan newspaper, and Alaa El-Ghatrify, its managing editor.

Limiting Freedom Of Expression In Egypt
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The move is the latest in a series of actions taken against Egyptian activists, bloggers, and journalists critical of government figures.

In its latest annual report on the condition of human rights in Egypt, the U.S. Department of State said that threats to freedom of speech, press, and association, are a significant human rights’ problem in Egypt. The State Department noted, “Courts convicted persons charged in private lawsuits with ‘insulting’ religions, government figures, and the Prophet Muhammad, and ‘harming national unity.’”

At a recent press briefing, Acting State Department Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said the United States is “deeply concerned by the growing trend of efforts to punish and deter political expression in Egypt:”

“Numerous individuals, including journalists, bloggers and activists have been detained and some are being charged and put on trial for allegedly defaming government figures. Such charges do not conform to Egypt’s international obligations, do not reflect international standards regarding freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, particularly in a democratic society, and represent a step backward for Egypt’s democratic transition.”

Mr. Ventrell said the United States calls on the Government of Egypt “to publicly speak out against this trend and to protect the essential freedoms of expression and assembly as it has publicly committed to do so. This is the way to ensure that Egypt’s democratic transition continues to progress in a way that meets the aspirations of the Egyptian people.”