becoming steadily more deplorable. The recent arrest of Hossam Bahgat, a respected human rights defender and journalist, has been described as "another nail in the coffin" for freedom of speech in Egypt.
This is just the latest thing--Egypt is in the middle of a crackdown regarding journalism, and one of the more disturbing things they are doing is charging journalists with "reporting false stories" and calling that a kind of terrorism. If someone gets a story wrong, is that reason for mortal terror? Wouldn't it make more sense, if a story was actually incorrect, to simply make sure that the contradictory evidence was published?
Also recently arrested was Saleh Diab, the founder of al-Masry al-Youm for reasons that aren't clear. Maybe there's a good reason--maybe the government is trying to intimidate a publisher. It's a weird game being played--arrest some journalists, try them without even putting a good case against them, or hold them without charges, or sentence them and maybe let them go after a year or so--they'll get the hint.
But the thing is, isn't this awfully insecure? It's not like people with eyes can't tell when a government is becoming especially oppressive, and it's not like the reasons why can't be sussed out. But they are cracking down on critical journalists instead of real terrorists. Where people can't even discuss how effective a flood response was without being sidelined and made to be afraid for their job, how can a government pretend they are interested in working for the people, who they want to keep ill-informed and who they feel too insecure about to trust with informed opinions?
This is temporarily bad news for Egyptian journalists, but it looks to me like long-term bad news for al-Sisi, because his insecurity may be well-founded. But targeting journalists is idiotic---he can arrest people and hold them in Egypt. But the whole world is watching.