Twelve Egyptian newspapers Tuesday refused to publish and five TV stations have suspended their broadcasts in protest of the new Islamist-drawn constitution, as tens of thousands prepare for an anti-Mursi rally outside the presidential palace. The self-imposed media blackout comes one day after several Egyptian newspapers, including Al Watan and Al-Masry Al-Youm, carried a front page image showing the silhouette of a reporter in shackles behind bars under the headline: ‘A constitution that cancels rights and shackles freedoms. No to dictatorship.’
Background (via CNN):
Newspapers and television stations known for criticizing President Mohamed Morsy are falling silent Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the country’s new draft constitution and an edict the head of state issued nearly two weeks ago to expand his powers.
As Egyptians count down to a public referendum on the draft constitution to be held in less than two weeks, some newspapers disappeared from news stands Tuesday. Others printed the same protest picture of the press symbolically behind bars with the headline, “No to Dictatorship.”
Article 48 of the draft constitution ties media freedom to the framework of society and national security, which many Egyptian journalists see as vague terminology.
More: See here for a Q&A on what’s driving Egypt’s unrest.
After my identity was disclosed, it meant a lot of responsibilities. I kind of feel responsible for whatever I say on the page. I always ask myself, before every post, is that in the best interest of this country or not? I do not want to abuse a tool like this, because at the end of the day, it could lead to people dying, or it could lead to bringing the government, you know, bringing the country in the wrong direction. So it’s a lot of responsibility. I personally became more conservative than before; I calculate my steps before taking them. I truly love my country, and I think the people of Egypt deserve a much better life.
The focus on technology in the international media may also misrepresent the character of liberation movements — hiding, for example, the important role played by women in the Arab Spring…
…While social media undoubtedly shaped the unfolding of liberation struggles in the Middle East and North Africa, to say that these were Facebook or Twitter revolutions is misleading. The focus on technical aspects of the Arab Spring marginalizes and minimizes the role of traditional organizing and downplays the risks and commitments made by ordinary people who put themselves, embodied and in real time, on the line for freedom.
The most troubling aspect of the myopic focus on “Liberation Technology” is the suggestion that if you add internet, you can produce instant revolution.