Fire in a Blackout


In Egypt, as elsewhere, journalists are under fire.:

Those who do not adhere to self-censorship are likely to face pressure from the state. Al-Masdar website features political news and is loosely affiliated to the recently banned secular activist group April 6 Movement. “We can’t do most of the work we want to do,” says Ali Asem, director of Al-Masdar. “We can’t attend protests; they have arrested and beaten our journalists.” Last year the authorities passed legislation that Human Rights Watch claim effectively outlaws protest. Many journalists covering protests have since been treated as demonstrators protesting illegally.

 Al-Masdar is unable to get permits to work as journalists and their website has been hacked and shut down. They have abandoned their office, fearing that it may be raided. “So now we are illegal,” says Asem. 

Egypt was last year’s third deadliest country in the world for journalists, and it really hasn’t gotten better. Patrick Keddie molds an investigation out of the pieces available to middle-eastern journalists; some of them shocking, all of them illuminating.

Bryan Washington has written for Puerto Del Sol, Ninth Letter, and Midnight Breakfast, among others; he's also the recipient of a Houstonia Fellowship. He lives around New Orleans. More from this author →