Sisi warns Egyptian press over freedoms


The former Egyptian army chief and current presidential candidate, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has warned newspaper editors not to press for freedom of speech and other rights.

Sisi, the likely winner of the election later this month, gave the warning during a meeting with editors of major newspapers on Thursday.

He said demands for greater freedom would jeopardize national security, calling on the senior editors not to press for dramatic reforms in state institutions by exposing corruption, and to give officials time to do their jobs.

“Give officials a chance for, say, four months,” Sisi said, adding, “If you have information or a subject you need to whisper in the ear [of officials], it is possible to do that without exposing it.”

Journalists have reportedly been the target of Egyptian authorities as part of a broader crackdown on dissent over the past months.

Sisi had earlier said that the Muslim Brotherhood movement is finished and will not exist if he is elected.

Egypt’s presidential election is scheduled to be held on May 26 and 27.

Sisi’s only opponent in the race is the leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi.

Sisi’s victory would place Egypt’s presidency back in the hands of a top military official just three years after Egyptians rose up against former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, an air force officer who ruled Egypt for nearly three decades.

Anti-government demonstrators have been holding rallies almost on a daily basis since the army toppled Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president. The demonstrators demand that Morsi be reinstated.

Rights groups say 1,400 people have been killed in the violence since Morsi’s ouster in July last year, “most of them due to excessive force used by security forces.”

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