Column: Arab Literature
Censorship sign
"Books can still be printed in Egypt without oversight from the Censors’ office (although printers and other middle-people can do their own sort of censorship), but imports seem to be just as closely observed, if not more so. The same goes for newspapers." © Helodrgt / The Commons
Censorship sign
Marcia Lynx Qualey
Last updated: August 17, 2012

Censorship in the newest new Egypt...

…thus far seems to be functioning more or less like censorship in the Previous Egypt (when SCAF sat in the golden Louis IVX chair), as well as in the Mubarak-led Egypt before that.

Notable censorings include last weekend’s confiscation of copies of Al-Dostour, after the newspaper ran a series warning against the Islamization of the state by the Brotherhood.  The state-owned Al-Akhbar also apparently censored an article by Youseef El-Qaeed that criticized the Brotherhood for last week’s violent Media City demonstrations.

In the world of book censorship, Khaled Fahmy, respected chair of the history department at the American University in Cairo (AUC), announced that he’d received an email from the AUC informing him that a book he’d requested for his modern Arab history course had been banned by the Censors’ Office, and thus cannot enter the country. The short email did not — of course — give any reasons for the ban.

Books can still be printed in Egypt without oversight from the Censors’ office (although printers and other middle-people can do their own sort of censorship), but imports seem to be just as closely observed, if not more so. The same goes for newspapers.

However, if there is a change, it must be that talk about censorship is more front and center, which perhaps creates an opportunity to convince some segment of the public that censorship is bad.

The Tunisians also have done a good job at staging public-awareness campaigns about the negative effects of censorship. Something like that, done well, probably couldn’t hurt, although done poorly it certainly could backfire.

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