In the Newsroom

October 23, 2008
Egyptian bloggers cite censorship, arrest and torture

Producer Sally Garner reported with Megan Thompson and Hoda Osman from Egypt. Sally produced a Worldfocus signature story, Egypt’s journalists fight for free speech, in which journalists discuss freedom, the press and taking blogging to the streets — or behind bars.

The video below is an exclusive Web interview with blogger and activist Hossam el-Hamalawy.

For bloggers and mainstream journalists, Egypt is far from free. Both Hossam el-Hamalawy and Nora Younis blog using their real names. Both write about protest rallies, politics and the growing — but still small — labor movement in Egypt.

Watch the video interview of el-Hamalawy, who says he’s been arrested, questioned and tortured several times during his career. He describes the blogging community in Cairo as having one foot in cyberspace and the other in the street.


It’s that activism that makes them targets for state security police.

Blogger Nora Younis told us about knowing she was being watched but choosing to continue to live and work without trying to hide.

“I never lock my door; I just leave my apartment and pull the door shut,” she said. “I never lock my door. I don’t care if they’re tapping the phone; I have to continue living as if this is safe. I have the right to do it. I should continue to do it.”

Reporters without Borders ranked Egypt 148th out of 169 countries in its annual press freedom survey.

The organization specifically cited the jailing of two bloggers last year as evidence of Egypt’s continuing crackdown on journalists. The report also pointed to the use of the Internet as a powerful tool that resulted in the “unprecedented arrest and imprisonment” of two government officials when a blogger posted video of them torturing prisoners at a local police station.

– Sally Garner




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I just watched WorldFocus recent reports, including freedom of the press segment from Egypt.

It it sad to read and watch on TV about lack of free speech and freedom of the press in this great country. And the jailing of bloggers and journalists for their activism for free press and free speech in Egypt.

M. Matthews

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