Egypt

Bloggers, Egyptian media and censorship

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Egyptian blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy

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Secular Dreams

The Religion Report

ABC Radio National

10 December 2008

The last 30 years in Egypt have seen a rise in Islamic fundamentalism, attacks on religious minorities, and evidence of increasing right win militancy among some Christian communities who are under attack.

And all this is occurring within a political context of the suppression of opposition parties, and flagrant human rights abuses of pro-democracy activists.

Egypt has been ruled under an emergency law since 1981, which allows authorities to ban strikes, demonstrations and public meetings; to censor or close down newspapers and other media, and to monitor private letters and phone calls.

But the internet generation in Egypt has begun to organise and create new spaces for people and ideas to meet, and they’re not about to back down.

The religion Report looks at the growing debate around secularism in Egypt, and the passions that drive it.

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Whereabouts of detained Egypt blogger unknown – Amnesty

Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:26pm IST

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian authorities have not disclosed the whereabouts of a blogger and activist who campaigns against Egypt’s Gaza policy and was reported to have been detained this month, Amnesty International said.

Diaa Eddin Gad, 22, was detained on Feb. 6 outside his home in the Nile Delta province of Gharbiya by security men, Amnesty said in a statement on Thursday.

“He is believed to be held incommunicado in an unknown location, putting him at danger of torture,” the London-based rights group said.

Inquiries by his lawyers and family have failed to locate Gad. Egypt normally reveals the location of detained activists to their families or lawyers within days.

Gad’s blog Sawt Ghadib or “An Angry Voice” (http://soutgadeb.blogspot.com) contains pro-Gaza slogans, news and commentary on Gaza, as well as strident denunciations of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and security services.

Egypt has been less tolerant of criticism of its Gaza policy since an Israeli offensive that ended on Jan. 18. This increased Egyptian public opposition to Cairo’s participation in an Israeli-led blockade of the Hamas-run territory.

Authorities also detained a Egyptian-German activist who blogs on Gaza issues, Philip Rizk, this month. They released him after several days following an international outcry.

The Egyptian government is wary that public support for Gaza will boost the popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood, the strongest opposition group in the country, which has ideological and historical ties with Hamas.

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