Shahira Amin 311.
(photo credit: Ruth Eglash)
Press freedom is in a worse place in Egypt today than it was under ousted
president Hosni Mubarak, according to the former deputy head of Nile TV
International, Shahira Amin, who quit her job in protest during last February’s
uprising in her country.
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Speaking at the World Justice Forum held in
Barcelona last week, Amin – who now freelances for international media
organizations, including for CNN’s Inside Africa – told the audience that her
work was far more scrutinized by secret services than ever before and that
journalists and bloggers have less freedoms to criticize those running the
country in this interim period.
Amin moderated a panel at the conference
focusing on freedom of the press, access to information and the rule of law.
During the discussion, she said that while she welcomed the public empowerment
that has gripped Egyptian citizens since the revolution, she was also concerned
whether the so-called “Arab Spring” would bring about fundamental changes in
freedom for journalists and bloggers.
In a story published by CNN last
week, Amin talked about the revolution’s shortcomings and interviewed a host of
journalists and bloggers that had been repeatedly attacked by the current
government and by the military for jeopardizing state security.
herself has been repeatedly scrutinized by state security services and even
received threats after walking out of her prominent job as a well-known anchor
on the state-run Nile News TV, where she worked since 1989. She described the
day she handed in her notice as liberating, saying that she had been on her way
to work when she passed by demonstrators in Tahrir Square. At that point, she
realized that she could not continue ignoring the voices of the
Since then, Amin has been attacked for a host of articles, most
notably for revealing that the military had carried out virginity tests on young
female protesters present in Tahrir Square during the uprisings. While she could
not reveal her sources in that story, the news that such invasive tests had been
carried out on young women caused a stir in Egypt and across the
Now Egypt’s protesters are just waiting to see if the revolution
will go far enough to realize their goals.
“Mubarak did us a favor; he
made every mistake in the book,” she commented during her talk, referring to
when the former leader shut down the Internet and other forms of
Regarding the new constitution that will soon be drafted
in Egypt, Amin concluded that she would like to see more legislation to support
press freedom and protect journalists so that, like her, they are not subjected
to as many threats.