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Reporting Egypt’s Revolution: Journalism on the Frontline

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Speakers: Journalists Jack Shenker (who reported on the Arab Spring for the Guardian) and Mostafa Bassiouny (reporter and editor in the Egyptian and regional press).

Global condemnation of the sentencing of Al-Jazeera journalists to up to ten years in jail has focussed attention on the assault on the media by Egypt’s military regime. In this special session of the Bread, Freedom and Social conference, we explore the vital role that independent and critical journalism has played in creating a space for dissident voices to be heard. Al-Jazeera played a central role in breaking the state TV monopoly over broadcasting, while for a decade before the revolution, privately-owned newspapers challenged the hegemony of the regime’s press. For the first time in decades, daily reports of protests, strikes and signs of a growing social movement filled the newspapers. Outspoken talkshow hosts provoked heated debate and discussion, giving opposition activists a public platform and a mass audience. During the uprising against Mubarak, as the global media beamed live coverage from Tahrir Square, workers in the state-run media took matters into their own hands, expelling recalcitrant editors and asserting journalistic independence in order to report on the revolution.

Today the military want to turn the clock back to the days of Mubarak, when criticism was routinely stifled by jailing journalists and intimidating editors. Jack Shenker and Mostafa Bassiouny will analyse the threat to journalism in Egypt posed by Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s regime, and explore how activists on the ground are continuing to resist attacks on freedom of expression.

This talk is part of the CRASSH series.

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