The Media Public Free Zone, which is affiliated with the General Authority for Investment, sent a strongly worded letter to the Al-Hayat satellite television station on Wednesday in which it warned the presenters of a daily talk show against criticizing Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council.
The warning came two weeks after program presenters discussed restrictions currently faced by reporters, as well as a recent ban on journalists from attending court sessions. In the letter, the Media Public Free Zone threatened to "escalate matters" if the show’s presenters or guests repeated the "mistake."
According to political analyst Amar Ali Hassan, "everything has been set in place for the upcoming elections."
Egypt will hold nationwide parliamentary elections on 28 November.
“From a security perspective, responsibility for elections has been handed over to the Interior Ministry instead of the judicial council," said Hassan. “From a legislative perspective, the constitution has been altered to ensure that elections go according to plan.”
“But the media hasn't signed on to the plan, so authorities are now trying to restrain it so it doesn't expose what will happen in the upcoming elections,” Hassan added, in reference to anticipated electoral fraud.
“This comes following announcements by several international organizations that they plan to resort to the media to expose the rigging and other violations expected to take place, since international electoral monitors have been banned,” he noted.
“This is an obvious attempt to restrain the media and prevent it from performing its role of monitoring the authorities," Hassan continued. "I have a list that includes the names of important writers who will be prevented from writing in the run-up to elections."
He concluded: "What began with satellite television will now be expanded to include the press."
Translated from the Arabic Edition.