Long known for its pyramids and ancient civilization, Egypt is the largest Arab country and has played a central role in Middle Eastern politics in modern times.
Egypt’s ancient past, and the fact that it was the first country to open up to the west during Napoleon’s invasion accounts for its numerous intellectual and cultural leader status. The head of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque is one of the highest authorities in Sunni Islam.
President: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Official Language: Arabic
Population: 83.9 million
National Anthem: Bilady
Media & Freedom of Expression Landscape in Egypt
The freedom of expression environment has worsened since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 following a popular uprising in the Arab Spring according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). HRW also calls on Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) should act to end assaults on journalists by security forces and cease prosecutions based on laws violating media freedoms, and the country’s newly elected parliament should promptly repeal those laws. Security forces resort to the use of excessive force against demonstrators and brutal beating of journaalists who attempt to report these abuses. These abusive acts were not only the hallmarks of Mubarak’s 30-year regime, but they have also been used repeatedly in the year since the SCAF assumed control on February 11, 2011.
Violations of the right to freedom of expression in Egypt include military trial of protesters and bloggers, interrogation of journalists and activists for criticising the military, the suspension of new satellite television licenses, and the closure of an outlet of Al Jazeera television.
Authorities rely on vague and arbitrary laws to sanction journalists and media practitioners as well as individuals who criticise the government.