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State-run media threatened by Shura move, says CPJ

(CPJ/IFEX) - 16 July 2012 - The following is a CPJ Blog post:

By Dahlia El Zein/CPJ Middle East and North Africa Research Associate

The first test for the future of press freedom in Egypt since President Mohamed Morsi took office is not going well.

Actually, not much is going well. I recently returned from a month in Egypt and the country is in chaos. The power struggle between the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which Morsi represents, has led to dissolution of the lower house of parliament, or People's Assembly. There is no constitution; and SCAF has annexed the interim constitutional declaration of last spring to assign itself sole authority over the state's affairs, providing the president with a more or less ceremonial, albeit administrative, role. Garbage accumulates for longer on the streets of Cairo than it used to, and the traffic police are nowhere to be found. The lights are still on in Egypt, but only just.

Meanwhile, the country's upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, which is dominated by the Freedom and Justice Party (and has not been dissolved--yet) announced on July 3 that it will begin accepting applications for new editor-in-chiefs of state-run publications, including the well-known dailies Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar, according to news reports. A 14-member committee composed of six Shura members, four veteran journalists, and four communications professors will consider the applications; then a committee formed exclusively by Shura members will make the final selection, according to news reports.

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