Egyptian Media Strike

Media strike poster: "A constitution that terminates rights and restrains freedoms. No to dictatorship."
Photo taken from Al-Ahram English (english.ahram.org.eg).

Twelve Egyptian newspapers and five TV channels are going on strike in protest against the draft constitution, which is set to go to referendum on December 15, and President Morsi's constitutional declaration that has effectively placed him above the law and rendered the judiciary impotent. 
Constitutional Declaration

Article II of President Morsi's constitutional declaration, issued on November 23, reads: 

Previous constitutional declarations, laws, and decrees made by the president since he took office on 30 June 2012, until the constitution is approved and a new People’s Assembly [lower house of parliament] is elected, are final and binding and cannot be appealed by any way or to any entity. Nor shall they be suspended or canceled and all lawsuits related to them and brought before any judicial body against these decisions are annulled.  

This key article not only places Morsi's decrees above the law; it also forces the Constituent Assembly (the body charged with writing the new constitution) to approve a draft by or before the deadline -- which they did on November 30. 

Constituent Assembly
It should be noted that the Constituent Assembly, whose members were appointed by the parliament, is dominated by Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi party Islamists. And since the Assembly's establishment, liberals, secularists, feminists, and minority representatives have been dropping out of the Assembly due to the Islamist majority's unwillingness to compromise on certain issues. 

Egypt Independent, the English version of Al-Masry Al-Youm, is on strike today.

In fact, one of the reasons Egyptian media sources are on strike is that the Constituent Assembly ignored the requests and recommendations of its members from the Journalists Syndicate. The media group withdrew its representatives in protest in mid-November. According to Al-Ahram, the draft constitution does not include any article against the imprisonment of journalists in cases related to freedom of expression. 

Shoshi Shmuluvitz

Diwaniyya Contributor

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