The Listening Post

Arrested, banned, exiled: Egypt’s dissenting voices

With presidential elections due next month, dissent has all but disappeared in Sisi’s Egypt. Plus, Hungary’s media.

On The Listening Post this week: With presidential elections due next month, dissent has all but disappeared in Sisi’s Egypt. Plus, Viktor Orban’s ever-tightening grip on Hungary’s media.

Egypt’s dissenting voices 

There have been more arrests in Egypt’s current election campaign than manifestos; candidates are dropping like flies.

For example, Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh decided not to run against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, but was arrested anyway upon his return to Cairo after doing an interview in London. It’s not just what he said, denouncing Egypt’s crackdown on dissent, but where he said it – on Al Jazeera Mubasher, which is network non grata in Egypt.

Istanbul is also on Cairo’s radar these days, because of the opposition channels that beam out of there and into Egypt, Mekameleen and Al Sharq. They are probably the reason travel restrictions have been placed on Egyptian journalists trying to go there.

When it comes to the media, the Sisi government has its bases covered; they don’t have to worry about how they are being covered.

Maha Azzam, president, Egyptian Revolutionary Council
Omar al-Ghazzi, assistant professor of media, LSE
Hamza Zawba, talk show host, Mekameleen TV
Sahar Khamis, associate professor of communication, University of Maryland

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Johanna Hoes about six journalists sentenced to life in prison in Turkey for allegedly plotting against the government, and how the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida is reverberating throughout the US news media.

Hungary: Orban’s media manipulation exposed

If the polls are to be believed, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban could win his third consecutive election this April. Should that happen, the media there will have played a large part.

Since coming to power for the second time in 2010, the Orban government has devoted considerable energy and resources to restructuring the domestic media landscape in its favour. The closure of Hungary‘s most influential opposition newspaper Nepszabadsag in October 2016 made headlines, but that is just one example of many government-linked buyouts.

Flo Phillips reports from Hungary where Orban’s election campaign is in full swing. The Listening Post managed to speak with two state media whistle-blowers who reveal the ruling Fidesz party is directing some of the reporting on key policies like anti-immigration – and how news outlets favourable to the government are dutifully falling in line.

Agnes Urban, media researcher, Mertek Media Monitor
Daniel Renyi, journalist
Whistleblowers, MTVA