Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has signed a controversial and wide-ranging anti-terrorism bill that has far-reaching implications for journalists and the media.
The law, which rights groups say will be used to crush dissent, will see journalists and news organisations fined a minimum of $25,000 if they publish information contradicting the government’s official line.
Critics say the steep fines will shut down small newspapers and will deter larger ones from independently reporting on attacks and operations against armed fighters.
Under the new bill, those who lead what the government considers “terrorist organisations” will receive a mandatory death sentence; special courts, which will be closed to the public, will be set up to expedite terrorism trials, and the government will expand its surveillance powers.
In a country where press freedom has long been under fire, the new law spells more trouble for anyone who veers from the government script on issues relating to national security. Even visiting a website that the government deems to be spreading “terrorist messages” can land you five years in jail. Some would say the law is largely unnecessary with the majority of local journalists already in lock step with Sisi’s government.
Assessing the consequences of Egypt’s new terror law for the media are: Professor Dalia Fahmy of the University of Long Island; Professor Mohamad Elmasry of the University of Alabama; Omar Ashour, the author of The De-Radicalization of Jihadists; and Rana Allam, a journalist and former editor of Daily News Egypt.
Other news stories on our radar this week: South Sudan journalist Peter Moi has been shot dead days after President Salva Kiir issued an apparent threat to kill reporters ‘working against the country’; an arrest in Bangladesh over the killing of secular bloggers earlier this year; and a UK investigation finds BBC World and CNN have been broadcasting sponsored content in the guise of “current affairs.”
Italy: Living in fear of Mafia threat
The Mafia represents one of Italy’s largest businesses, but bad press means bad business and to stay profitable the Mafia will not accept any media scrutiny.
Violence against journalists is mostly a thing of the past, but threats and intimidation are still a big problem and investigative work is often left to local reporters with little reach, tiny budgets and no protection.
The Listening Post‘s Paolo Ganino reports from Palermo on the troublesome relation between the Mafia and the Italian media.
Closing the show this week we bring you the modern travel experience from a rather unusual angle. When you say goodbye to your luggage at airport check-in, have you ever wondered about the journey it takes? By fitting a suitcase with an action camera the team at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International airport have revealed that it is quite a rollercoaster ride and maybe more fun than flying.