A controversy has erupted over the appointment of Islamist editors for Egypt's state-run media, reports Al-Masri Al-Youm's English language website, the Egypt Independent. The move allows Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to translate political dominance to media monopolization, a development that many journalists protested in Cairo last month.
State-run Al-Ahram printed the list of new editors without comment, provoking outrage at independent papers. They included: Abdel Naser Salama for Al-Ahram, Mohamed Hassan al-Bana for Akhbar Al-Youm, Suleiman Qenawy for Al-Akhbar, Gamal Abdel Raheem for Al-Gomhurriya, Shaker Gamal Eddin for the Middle East News Agency (MENA), and Essam Abdel Aziz for Rose al-Youssef magazine. The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice News, called the shuffle "National papers in a new dress."
Independent papers Youm7, Al-Watan, and Al-Tahrir responded by printing mostly blank editorial pages, while only the words "in protest of the Brotherhood's attempts to control press and media." Independent paper Al-Shorouk called for the formation of a private media bloc to confront the MB. Privately owned daily Al-Dostour reported on a protest Wednesday outside of Egypt's parliamentary Shura Council, calling for the removal of the new editors and the resignation of the MB-affiliated head of the Journalists' Syndicate.
Egyptian Minister of Information Salah Abdel Moqsoud clarified the meaning of the move Monday. He "stressed the need of differentiating between media freedom and freedom of incitement or sedition among the sects of the community, or using a method of public defamation on satellite channels," in a statement carried by AllAfrica.com. In the past, such language has translated to eliminating criticism of Islam.