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Freedom of speech in Egypt worse than Mubarak era: Author

14 December 2015 9:59


The government of President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt is manipulating the public with theories that the world is conspiring against the North African country while it is severely restricting the freedom of expression, says a renowned Egyptian writer, novelist and political activist, Alaa al-Aswany.

The author of the best-selling Yacoubian Building made the remarks on Sunday after the Egyptian government pressured a cultural institution in the northern city of Alexandria to cancel an event, at which he was scheduled to talk last Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

He added that the authorities banned him last year from appearing on TV channels or getting published in Egyptian newspapers.

“Freedom of expression is at its lowest point, worse than in the days of Hosni Mubarak,” country’s long-time dictator, who was ousted in the 2011 revolution, Aswany further said.

Since Sisi’s inauguration in June last year, requests for appearing on TV programs and writing for newspaper columns have mostly ceased, he noted.

Some of the newspaper managers “told me directly that they’re under pressure and that they’re unable to have a contract with me,” he said. As for TV appearances, “a friend of mine, a very famous anchor, told me they don’t want me to appear on TV.”

Aswany, a highly critical figure of Sisi’s policies, has won numerous international awards for his literary works.

The incumbent president is heavily censured by rights groups for stifling freedom of speech in the Arab country.

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