A series of reports out of Egypt is creating concern about the future of free expression under the country's new Islamist-dominated government.
Author Youseef El-Qaeed says the state-run Al-Akhbar newspaper refused to run an article Sunday that was critical of the Muslim Brotherhood. The article, El-Qaeed told Ahram Online, criticized Brotherhood members involved in beating an Egyptian journalist who allegedly made false statements about the group and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
An Al-Akhbar editor denied the allegation, saying El-Qaeed never handed in a story. The newspaper, like other state-controlled media outlets in Egypt, saw its secular editors replaced by Islamists last week.
"He has no contract with us, we did not censor his article and we haven't received any articles from him at all," editor Mohamed Hassan El-Banna told Ahram Online. "Moreover, Al-Akhbar will not publish any articles from any journalists outside the newspaper, we have the finest writers in house and they're the ones who deserve to write."
El-Qaeed said he had a contract with Al-Akhbar's previous editor.
Ahram Online cited a separate example in which a journalist was instructed to change a story critical of the Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, another journalist and a television host face incitement charges for statements critical of Morsi. A Sky News report indicates other journalists have been physically attacked after publishing criticism of the Brotherhood.
A prominent cleric has issued a fatwa calling on followers to attack people at an anti-Brotherhood rally scheduled for next Friday, the Egyptian Independent reported, citing an Al-Masry Al-Youm story. Sheikh Hashem Islam, a member of Al-Azhar University's fatwa committee, called the protestors "ratters against democracy and freedom."
He invoked a Quranic verse which instructs: "Resist them; if they fight you, fight back, if they kill you, you are in paradise, if you kill them, there is no blood money."
In July, Islam appeared on Hamas television in Gaza, calling suicide bombings – or "martyrdom operations" – "among the deeds most pleasing to Allah, according to a video translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).