Egypt 2 Essay, Research Paper
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the Government partially restricts these rights. The Government owns stock in the three largest daily newspapers, and the President appoints their editors-in-chief. Although these newspapers generally follow the government line, they frequently criticize government policies. The Government also enjoys a monopoly on the printing and distribution of newspapers, including those of the opposition parties. The Government used its monopolistic control of newsprint to limit the output of opposition publications.
Opposition political parties publish their own newspapers but receive a subsidy from the Government . All have small circulations. Opposition newspapers frequently publish criticism of the Government. They also give greater prominence to human rights abuses than the state-run newspapers.
The Press Law, the Publications Law, and the Penal Code govern press issues. The Penal Code stipulate fines or imprisonment for criticism of the President, members of the Government, and foreign heads of state. Financial penalties were increased substantially in 1996 when relevant provisions of the Penal Code were revised. In recent years, opposition party newspapers have, within limits, published articles critical of the President and foreign heads of state without being charged or harassed.
On occasion, based on authority granted to him by law, the Public Prosecutor may issue a temporary ban on the publication of news pertaining to cases involving national security and order so as to protect the confidentiality of the cases.
The Ministry of Information owns and operates all domestic television and radio stations. The Government refuses to license private broadcast stations or to privatize the State’s broadcast media. In addition to public television, the Government also offers several pay-for-view television channels. Government control and censorship of the broadcast media is significant.
The Ministry of Interior regularly confiscates leaflets and other works by Muslim fundamentalists and other critics of the State. The Ministry of Interior also has the authority, which it exercises sporadically, to stop specific issues of foreign-published newspapers from entering the country on the grounds of protecting public order. The Ministry of Defense may ban works about sensitive security issues. The Council of Ministers may order the banning of works that it deems offensive to public morals, detrimental to religion, or likely to cause a breach of the peace.