Worringly, the government in Egypt is making all attempts to ensure that it has absolute control over the local media.
Just one of those usual narratives in African countries. The control of the media. In Egypt, it seems as if the situation of freedom of expression through the media is being gradually repressed.
Reporters Without Borders, a rights group known by the French acronym RSF, has said that the privately-owned media are owned by businessmen with links to governement and intelligence agencies. It has been known that scenarios like these foster an environment filled with biased information preferrably to suit the agendas of a few elite people. The RSF reported that “the regime’s domination of the media continues to grow and is even affecting pro-government media.”
One does not even need to explain why African governements yearn so much to control the media. It is the media which creates certain elements that may prove to be threats to the respective governments. Associated Press reported that Virtually all Egyptian media outlets are openly supportive of the government, which in recent months has blocked hundreds of websites, including many run by independent journalists and human rights organisations. How devastating.
Frantic efforts to have absolute control over the media; that is what many African governments major in. The suppression of independent media is part of a larger crackdown on dissent launched after the military overthrew an elected Islamist president in 2013. Since then, Egypt has ranked near the bottom of press freedom indexes. It seemingly is a deplorable situation, where rights are clamped down just like that, in order to ensure regime survival.
Reporters Without Borders singled out the popular ONTV network and local newspapers Youm al-Sabea and Sout al-Omma, all of which are owned by Ahmed Abu Hashima, a pro-government businessman. Shortly after he acquired the network in 2016, authorities deported Liliane Daoud, a British-Lebanese TV presenter who was critical of some government policies.
The report also referred to Al-Asema TV, owned by a former military spokesperson, and Al-Hayat TV, which was reportedly purchased by an Egyptian security company.
Since May, authorities have blocked access to at least 424 websites, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, an Egyptian rights group. The government has also blocked the websites of VPN services, which allow users to circumvent such bans.
Reporters Without Borders' own website has been blocked since mid-August.
It is such a situation that requires positive solutions being put forward. Regime survival in Africa does not give any single consideration to the freedom of expression.
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