The case of the Al Jazeera journalists sends a chilling message to journalists that there is a high price to pay for giving the Muslim Brotherhood a voice. A journalist working for a private pro-government Arabic daily sarcastly told Index that there is only one side to the story in Egypt: the government line. Mosa’ab El Shamy, a photojournalist whose brother is one of the defendants in the Al Jazeera case posted an article this week on the website Buzzfeed, humorously titled: If you want to get arrested in Egypt, work as a journalist.
In truth though, the case is no laughing matter. National Public Radio’s Cairo Correspondent Leila Fadel said it shows just how far Egypt has backslid on the goals of the January 2011 uprising when pro-democracy protesters had demanded greater freedom of expression. Today, violations against press freedoms in Egypt are the worst in decades, according to the New York-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists. Sadly, it does not look like the situation for journalists in Egypt will improve anytime soon.
In the meantime the fate of the Al Jazeera journalists hangs in the balance.