The rollback on civil liberties and press freedoms continues in Egypt where our close ally is arresting journalists for insulting the government or police. Now even pro-government media figures are being arrested. The arrest of prominent television host Khairy Ramadan is an example of how, once censorship and the criminalization of speech starts, the appetite for speech control becomes insatiable.
Ramadan raised the alleged low salaries of police officers on his show Egypt Today after citing a policeman’s wife. She raised the difficulty of living on the officer’s monthly gross salary of 6,890 pounds (RM1,530).
Ramadan was denounced as spreading “false” news. The arrest came after the announced government crackdown on news outlets and social media to curb “recent observed attempts to harm the security and safety of the homeland by publishing lies and false news.”
Ramadan was accused of “defaming” the police. We previously discussed the Italian laws that allow criminal charges for defaming the police. The Italian media has objected to the criminalization trend in that country. They need to only look at Egypt to see what awaits from speech regulation.