Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Freedom of Opinion In Egypt

Ahmed Elsayed, University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law, has published The Case of Freedom of Expression in Egypt: The Risky Business of Expressing an Opinion. Here is the abstract.

Under the ruling of President Morsi, the attack on freedom of expression in Egypt had become synonymous with the arrest warrant issued against the popular satirist Bassem Yussuf over charges of, inter alia, blasphemy and insulting the president. For many, seeking to silence Yussuf, considering his popularity and scathing criticism of the regime, made perfect sense. Nevertheless a closer look at the situation may reveal another dimension for such assault on freedom of expression. For example, charges of blasphemy had also chased the writer and Islamic researcher Yussuf Zidan for a book that he published in 2009 and, in another case, two Coptic boys (aged nine and ten years). Zidan, due to the technical nature of his writings, can hardly be imagined to have posed any threat to the regime and the age of the Coptic boys cast real doubts that they even knew the meaning of blasphemy let alone committing it. Furthermore, in an unprecedented move against non-Arabic press, it had been reported that the government pressure led to the shutdown of ‘Egypt Independent’ a private newspaper published in English.
Despite that laws related to freedom of expression and media had hardly changed from Mubarak to Morsi, this paper aims to track down the behavioral changes in implementing these laws under both Presidents.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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