Media blackout in Egypt is part of the protests against President Morsi
Cairo – Akram Ali
Eleven independent and party daily newspapers in Egypt have decided to withhold their Tuesday issue in protest against the country’s draft constitution.
The editors of all 11 newspapers reached an agreement not to print
on Tuesday as an initial measure, before escalating their protest against restrictions on free speech.
They say that the constitution is a step backwards in Egyptian legal history because it violates liberties and restricts the freedoms of conscience and expression.
Three satellite channels have also decided to broadcast a black screen on Wednesday to step up the protest.
The decision was announced in a statement from the National Committee for the Defense of Freedom of Expression and Creativity (NCDFE). The organisation declared its rejection of the constitutional declaration which they said struck down the goals of the revolution. They also expressed their solidarity with the judiciary in its refusal to recognise the draft constitution.
The newspapers who have decided not to print on Tuesday are Almasry Alyoum, Al-Youm Al-Sabe\'a, Al-Tahrir, El-Watan, Al-Sabah, Al-Shorouk, Al-Wafd, Al-Ahaly, El-Aosboa, Al-Ahrar and Al-Fagr. The three channels who will broadcast black screens are OnTV, Dream and CBC. Two more channels, Al-Hayat and Mehwar are in talks about joining the protest.
Media workers have blasted the new constitution with some saying clauses related to the operation of the press, media and publishing, are worse than laws under former President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak.
Columnist Gamal Fahmi told Arabstoday that the protest would \"stir western public opinion, placing pressure on President Mohammed Morsi to back down from the referendum on a constitution that squanders the freedoms of conscience and expression.\"
Fahmi added that newspapers and television channels will look into escalating their protests later in the week.