Saturday, December 04, 2010

Egypt: Egypt's media squeeze

When the results of Egypt's first round of parliamentary elections came in, there was shock - from the opposition Muslim Brotherhood whose seats in parliament fell from 88 to zero, from election watchers inside and outside Egypt who had not expected the apparent rigging to be so brazen and from the many Egyptian voters who had cast ballots in favour of the opposition. If anyone was not shocked, it was Ibrahim Issa, the ousted editor of the Al Dustour newspaper. In an online editorial, Issa wrote that the results were not only to have been expected, but were not worth the "astonishment, wonder and condemnation".

Newsmen like Issa speak from bitter experience. In the run up to the parliamentary elections, the government came down hard on the media - both mainstream and alternative. We take a look at Egypt, the parliamentary elections there and what the media clampdown tells us about what to expect next year, when the presidential elections take place.