Author claims Al-Akhbar banned his article criticizing Brotherhood

A famous Egyptian novelist said Tuesday that state-owned newspaper Al-Akhbar banned an article he penned that was critical of the Muslim Brotherhood from publication, describing the matter as a “scandal.”

Youssef al-Qaeed told Al-Masry Al-Youm that his article, "No listening, no obedience," contained harsh criticism of the group.

He dubbed the move as "crippling" to freedoms in the time of the revolution.

Qaeed said that he sent the article for publication in last Saturday's issue. When it wasn't published, he said he waited until Monday, thinking the replacement of many state-owned newspaper editors had delayed the story, but the story still did not appear.

Al-Akhbar's new editor-in-chief, Mohamed Hassan al-Banna, said the newspaper never received Qaeed's article, stressing his respect for freedom of expression in a statement Tuesday.

The newspaper does not ban any material, but gives priority to staff writers, Banna added.

Gamal al-Ghitany, a columnist for the same daily, said that he is against any publishing ban or attacks on freedom of expression.

"There is a misunderstanding," he said. "I call upon writers to protest banning articles."

Writer Bahaa Taher claimed that this was not the first article to be held from publication, citing a story author Abal al-Rweiny wrote for Al-Akhbar. He did not specify why the latter was not published.

The Shura Council, which is dominated by the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, announced the new editors-in-chief of state newspapers last Wednesday, wrapping up a controversial selection process that began more than a month ago. Banna was among the new guard of editors appointed.

Observers have attacked the Shura Council's selection process, saying the Brotherhood is using it to take control of state media.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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