Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Harming the national interest.... again

An Aljazeera journalist was handed a six month prison sentence for "harming the country's national interest by fabricating torture scenes for a documentary."

Howaida Taha was producing a documentary about police brutality in Egypt. In this documentary she reenacted some torture scenes, which is a common technique (not the torture I mean the reenactment) used by documentary makers around the world, but the Egyptian government called this fabrication, i.e. they say she intended to use the reenactment scenes as if they were real torture scenes.

A couple of observations on this. How can they tell how she was going to use the reenactment scenes before the documentary was even produced? If she had really intended to misuse the reenactment scenes this would have been a big professional mistake. Now if a journalist or any other professional commits such a mistake they get punished or even fired, but not go to jail. Also, why didn't the government sue Al Jazeera? Wasn't she working for them and ultimately the channel is responsible for what they produce and put out on air.

The worrying thing in this case is that it looks like the Egyptian government is trying to scare anyone who dares to even think about speaking out against any form of corruption. They have done a good job, the Egyptian blogosphere recently lost two of it's best bloggers, Big Pharaoh and Sandmonkey and although the number of readers of this blog is embarassingly low, I feel intimidated too, because according to their twisted idiotic logic, I could be guilty of harming the reputation of Egypt if I blog about what I really think of the Egyptian government and officials

And finally, accusations such as harming the "reputation" or the "national interests" of Egypt are really sickening. Who is harming the reputation and interests of Egypt, the corrupt officials, judges and policemen or the journalists who report on them?

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  • "Who is harming the reputation and interests of Egypt, the corrupt officials, judges and policemen or the journalists who report on them?"

    this is so true

    By Blogger Marvel, At 7:22 PM, May 02, 2007  

  • You and Big Faraoh are two great blogs which shows the good and bad about beautiful Egypt. I might not agree with some of your topics, but that's not an issue because we all have our own opinions.

    Unfortunately that BF is not writing anymore, I consider a loss to the blog community, so why should we suffer another loss if you decide to stop writing?

    By the way, since when we bloggers write for the number of comments we expect to receive? We write because we love writing, we love to share our thoughts and ideas with the rest of the world, right? ;)

    Keep on writing my friend, and stay safe

    By Blogger MixMax, At 10:13 PM, May 02, 2007  

  • "why didn't the government sue Al Jazeera?" Because they want the punishment to be personal, to scare away any serious journalist who really seeks to expose corruption.
    Don't make them scare you off cause this is exactly what they want.

    By Blogger Om Luji, At 10:44 AM, May 05, 2007  

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