A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, August 24, 2012

Morsi Ends Preventive Detention for Journalists

There's been growing alarm recently about the increasing pressures on the media — both the state media and the independents — in which complaints filed by the Muslim Brotherhood (often using Mubarak-era laws to do it) seemed to augur a new. restrictive era in Egypt. President Morsi, who was getting a lot of the blame for the new pressures, has issued an order reversing the most controversial move to date, the arrest of Al-Dostour Editor-in-Chief Islam Afify, held in detention for his reports on Morsi. Morsi has ended the detention of journalists for "publication offenses," including that of offending the President of the Republic.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its Guidance Committee have been increasingly aggressive against critics of the Brotherhood and Morsi, leading to alarm among secularists that the Brotherhood will impose rules as authoritarian as those under the old regime. So far Morsi seems to be keeping some distance between himself and the Guidance Committee, but in the absence of a Parliament and with SCAF's power reduced, there are few checks on Morsi at the moment. Today there were secularist demonstrations against the Brotherhood, and a few clashes, though most liberal and Revolutionary groups boycotted the protests, seeing them as essentially organized by the fallul, the "remnants" of the old regime.

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