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article imageEl-Sisi warns not to press for media freedom and other rights

By Ken Hanly     May 8, 2014 in Politics
Cairo - Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former army chief who led the coup against former president Morsi and is now a presidential candidate, has warned newspaper editors not to press for media freedoms or other rights.
Sisi is widely believed to win the election later in May. During a meeting with major newspaper editors he claimed that greater freedoms would threaten national security. He said that editors should not urge dramatic reforms through revealing corruption but should give officials time to prove themselves and do their jobs.
Sisi told the editors: "Give officials a chance for, say, four months, 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."
Sisi has cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood and branded it a terrorist organization. There have been mass trials at which hundreds of Brotherhood members and supporters have been sentenced to death including the spiritual leader of the group: In April, an Egyptian judge sentenced 683 alleged Brotherhood members to death and confirmed the death sentences of 37 of 529 alleged supporters who were previously condemned.
Rights groups claim up to 1,400 people have been killed in violence since Morsi was overthrown and the government cracked down on pro-Morsi protests.
The presidential election is scheduled for May 26 and May 27. Sisi has only one opponent a leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi. The election of Sisi will again result in a military official at the top. The former president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was the first democratically-elected president in Egypt.
Al Jazeera has been a prime target of the Egyptian government's crackdown on the press. Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed, and Mohamed Fahmy have now been in prison for 131 days. They all worked for the Al Jazeera English. Another correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic Abdullah Eishamy has been held for even longer 267 days without being tried.
The three Al Jazeera English correspondents are charged with spreading false news and also supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and that now translates into supporting terrorism since the group is classified as terrorist. Their trial resumes on May 15. Al Jazeera claims that the charges have no merit and that the journalists were simply doing their job.
More about Abdul elSisi, Egyptian presidential elections, Press freedom in Egypt
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