When Egypt’s former defense minister, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, ascended to the presidency in 2014, nearly all of Egypt’s media stood faithfully by him. That same media was vigorously opposed to the former elected president, the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Morsi, whom the military under Sisi had forcibly overthrown following mass protests in 2013 — and rarely voiced criticism of Sisi in the first months of his presidency.
Almost two years later, the scene is quite different. Relations between Egypt’s media and the government have deteriorated so severely that, last week, Egyptian police were accused of raiding the headquarters of the Journalists Syndicate (the professional union responsible for protecting, defending, and accrediting journalists and editors for all private and state-run print media) and arresting two journalists, sparking substantial demonstrations.
And while the size of these protests is insignificant compared with the scale of the ones that brought down Egypt’s longtime ruler, Hosni Mubarak, in the 2011 Egyptian revolutionary uprising, the demonstrations are nonetheless indicative of how much the relationship between the Egyptian government and the press has deteriorated in just a few short years.