Student reading lists: minority groups and censorship

Articles from this list explore the topic of how minority groups are both being censored and also evade censorship. Includes Kerry Brown on the censored minorities of China at the time of the 2008 Olympic Games and Akeel Bilgrami on the plight of India’s Muslims after 9/11.

Students and academics can browse the Index magazine archive in thousands of university libraries via Sage Journals.

Minority groups and censorship articles

Student reading lists

Censorship in the arts
Comedy and censorship
Journalism and censorship
Ken Saro-Wiwa
Minority groups and censorship
Threats to academic freedom
About the student reading lists
Technology and censorship

Minorities and the media by Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith, March 1975; vol. 4, 1: pp. 105-106

A study in the use of media by the Mexican Chicano Movement

Enemies Within by Kerry Brown

Kerry Brown, May 2008; vol. 37, 2: pp. 152-161

Kerry Brown on the censored minorities of China

Speaking in Tongues by Lambros Baltsiotis, Leonidas Embiricos

Lambros Baltsiotis, Leonidas Embiricos, March 2001, vol. 30, 2: pp. 145-151

A deconstruction of minority languages in Greece and a look at the battle to keep these languages alive

Just a Question of Money? By Moussa Awuonda

Moussa Awuonda, April 2003, vol. 32 no. 2 187-191

Kenyan journalist Moussa Awuonda details the report pressing the Swedish government to pay more attention to its minority presses

India’s Muslims Post 9/11 by Akeel Bilgrami

Akeel Bilgrami, November 2006, vol. 35, 4: pp. 15-21

Akeel Bilgrami delivers an explosive narrative on how India’s Muslim minority has responded to the aggressive ideology of the majority Hindus

Silencing the disabled: Only the state may help the disabled; others who try are repressed by Steven Marc Glick

Steven Marc Glick, October 1981, vol. 10, 5: pp. 32-33

Author Steven Marc Glick reports from the former Soviet Union on the plight of disabled individuals and new attempts by some to help them

Down The Welsh Road by George Jones

George Jones, July 2001, vol. 30, 3: pp. 206-211

George Jones on the linguistic rights of the Welsh-speaking minority in Wales

Speaking in Tongues by Ayer Neier

Ayer Neier, March 1996, vol. 25, 2: pp. 139-141

The ex-executive director of Human Rights Watch on the danger of suppressing minority languages worldwide

Daring to speak one’s name: A reflection on gay censorship by Alberto Manguel

Alberto Manguel, January 1995, vol. 24, 1: pp. 14-31

As Russian law relaxes and allows homosexual writers a voice, Alberto Manguel reflects on gay censorship in the country

The landscape for religious freedom in the new Egypt by Shahira Amin

Shahira Amin, June 2013, vol. 42, 2: pp. 102-109

Two years after the revolution in Egypt, Shahira Amin reflects on the minority communities who are still trying to get their voices heard

The reading list for minority groups and censorship can be found on the Sage website

Egypt: Regime pushes self-censorship on journalists

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has tightened the screws of the country's journalists. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has tightened the screws of the country’s journalists. (Photo: Wikipedia)

In a rare show of defiance, hundreds of Egyptian journalists have objected to a “statement of allegiance” to the government signed by editors-in-chief of the main state-owned and independent newspapers.

More than 600 Egyptian journalists signed an online petition defending press freedom and rejecting censorship in all its forms. The move came in response to a loyalty pledge by 17 editors-in-chief of newspapers to refrain from criticizing the police, the military and the judiciary at this sensitive time when Egypt was “at war with terrorism.”

The journalists dismissed the editors’ statement as “a futile attempt to create a one-voice media,” arguing that “fighting terrorism had nothing to do with voluntary abandonment of freedom of speech.”

“The editors’ statement is not worth the ink used in writing it,” Dina Samak, deputy editor-in-chief of the English language semi-official Ahram Online and one of the journalists who signed the petition, told Index on Censorship.

“The terrorists will win when they can control the media, and the state will fall when it agrees on the same goal,” said Khaled El Balshi, a journalist and board member of the Journalists Syndicate, who helped draw up the petition for press freedom.

In a show of solidarity with Egypt’s military-backed regime, the editors had gathered at El Wafd newspaper headquarters on 26 October to forge “a united front against terrorism”, expressing their “rejection of attempts to cast doubt on state institutions.” They also vowed to take measures to halt what they called the “infiltration by elements supporting terrorism” in their publications — a reference to supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, designated as a terrorist group by Egypt last year.

While the move did not come as a surprise to many — as it was already clear that the majority of media outlets had aligned themselves closely with the government since the military takeover of the country in July 2013 — the “loyalty pledge” by the editors was nevertheless unusual even in a country where the media was in lockstep with the regime.

The signatories to the declaration — the editors-in-chief of the three main state-owned dailies Al Ahram, Al Akhbar, Al Gomhouria and those of the independent Al Masry Al Youm, Al Watan, Al Shorouq, El Tahrir, El Ahali, Al Fajr , El Messa, El Esboo, El Youm el Sabe and El Gamaheer newspapers — argued however that “crisis situations” required “exceptional measures”.

Defending the editors’ statement, Emad El Din, editor-in-chief of the independent Al Shorouk denied that the editors’ loyalty declaration gave journalists the green light to practice self censorship.

“We wanted to deliver a message to citizens that the media is with the state in fighting terrorism,” he told NPR Radio shortly after signing the statement.

“At this time of heightened nationalism, the climate does not allow for any criticism of the government,” he added.

The move came in response to a call by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for Egyptians to rally behind him in his fight against terrorism following two deadly militant attacks on an army checkpoint in North Sinai on 24 October that killed 33 army soldiers and injured at least a dozen others. The militant assaults were the latest in a string of attacks targeting mainly security forces — but at times, also civilians — since the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The attacks have prompted a surge in nationalism and a heralding of a so-called “war on terrorism” waged by the military against suspect-militants in the Sinai Peninsula. The violence has also resulted in a massive government crackdown on dissent that has targeted all opposition including journalists critical of regime policies.

Six journalists have been killed and dozens detained since the military took power in July 2013, according to the New York-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists. While most have been released, at least 11 journalists remain behind bars for no crime other than being at — or near — Muslim Brotherhood protest sites. Among the detained are three journalists working for the Al Jazeera English news network who have been sentenced to between seven and 10 years in jail on charges of “threatening national security, fabricating news and aiding a terror group”.

The crackdown on the media has led many journalists to practice self-censorship for fear of being imprisoned, killed or labeled “unpatriotic” by an unsympathising Egyptian public. Meanwhile, the statement released by the editors has fueled fears among press freedom advocates of a further shrinking in the already-dwindling space for freedom of expression in Egypt.

Adel Hamouda, an Egyptian journalist and former editor-in-chief of Al Fajr, meanwhile, criticised the editors’ statement as “uncalled for“.

“It is an attempt by the editors to win favour with the regime for the sake of personal gains,” he told Index. He explained that all Egyptians — except those supporting the Muslim Brotherhood — support the state in its war on terror so it is “meaningless” to publicly assert their support. He further noted that all media organisations were required to seek approval from the Armed Forces Morale Affairs Department before publishing or broadcasting any news about the military.

The majority of the independent media outlets that signed the statement belong to wealthy businessmen with close links to the ruling military-backed regime. They are fully aware that publishing any criticism of government policies would ruffle feathers and likely jeopardize their business interests. All top editors were appointed by the Higher Press Council shortly after Morsi’s overthrow in July 2013. Their selection was clearly based on their willingness to cooperate with the regime rather than their merits. Shortly after Morsi’s ouster, a leaked video on YouTube showed then-Defence Minister Abdel Fattah El Sisi asking senior generals to “establish partnerships with media outlets to curb any criticism of the military”. An independent journalist who spoke on condition of anonymity told Index that days before Morsi’s ouster, she had been approached by security officials who promised her “fruitful rewards” if she joined the “winning side” — a clear reference to the country’s powerful security apparatus that drove the uprising against the democratically-elected president.

In the coup’s aftermath, most editors and TV talk show hosts have persistently lionised Sisi and cheered on the military while demonising the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which former President Mohamed Morsi hailed.

The media in Egypt has traditionally been a propaganda tool for whoever is in power. Various successive regimes have used the state media as a mouthpiece to further their political gains. Under Mubarak, all editors-in-chief of the state-owned newspapers were handpicked by his powerful Minister of Information Safwat El Sherif who presented the list of chosen candidates to the Shoura or Consultative Council, the upper house of parliament dominated by members of the then-ruling party, the National Democratic Party, for ratification.

In the months following the fall of Mubarak, there was a brief period of free expression and a loosening up of restrictions on the media. Press freedom — one of the major gains of the 2011 mass uprising — was short-lived however as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which replaced Mubarak, quickly moved to exercise control over the media. During its one year in office, the SCAF confiscated newspapers, ransacked the offices of foreign news networks and investigated journalists critical of the military. Shortly after Morsi won the elections — becoming the country’s first democratically elected president — he too reneged on his election promises to promote freedom of speech, appointing a Muslim Brotherhood member as minister of information. The Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Shoura appointed regime loyalists as senior editors of state-owned dailies, repeating the Mubarak-era practice that allows tight government control over the media. The move provoked an outcry from non-Islamist journalists who held protest rallies and threatened to resign their posts.

Almost immediately after Morsi’s overthrow, all Islamist-leaning newspapers and TV channels were shut down by the new authorities — a move that sent a message to journalists that there was little tolerance for dissent in Egypt, post-3 July. The last sixteen months have seen a return of the media censorship reminiscent of that which prevailed under Mubarak. Newspapers that published articles deemed “controversial” by the authorities, have been pulled off newsstands and confiscated. In October 2014, a print edition of the independent Al Masry Al Youm was confiscated by government censors for publishing an interview with former national security intelligence chief Mohamed Gebril in which he was quoted as saying that “no Israeli spy has ever been executed in Egypt”. The paper later appeared on newsstands, albeit without the interview. Months earlier, columnist and screenwriter Belal Fadl resigned from the independent Al Shorouk after the paper’s management allegedly refused to publish his column ridiculing the promotion of Sisi (who was defence minister at the time) to the rank of field marshal. Fadl was accused by pro-military commentators of being a “traitor” and “a fifth columnist plotting to destroy the country”.

Several editors who signed the statement of support to the government are also known to be part of a fake opposition created by Mubarak to give a semblance of free speech and democracy. Like other pro-regime editors, they too have persistently glorified the military and vilified the Muslim Brotherhood. And they have gone a step further, slandering the January 25 Revolution as a “foreign conspiracy” and labelling the secular opposition activists who mobilised public support for the 2011 mass protests “traitors” and “foreign agents.”

Mostafa Bakri, editor-in-chief of Al Osbou — and one of the editors who signed the loyalty pledge — has recently been summoned by the public prosecutor after several legal complaints were filed against him by private citizens for “fabricating news” and “slandering the January 25 Revolution”.

Meanwhile, the journalists behind the online petition for press freedom are planning to form an independent association to advocate freedom of expression. While this is a step in the right direction, press freedom advocates fear the negative effects of the editors’ pledge of allegiance are already being felt.

“Their statement was perceived as a warning message by the younger, less skilled journalists, many of whom are now practicing self-censorship for fear of losing their jobs or in a bid to win favour with the management and get promoted,” lamented Dina Samak.

Despite the setback, the battle for press freedom is on.

“It is a battle pitting the younger, pro-reform journalists against the old regime loyalists, resisting change,” Amany Kamal, a former radio presenter told Index. Kamal was forced to quit her job as a broadcaster with a state-run radio channel after being accused by the management of sympathising with the Muslim Brotherhood. “But we shall win,” she said.

This article was published on 24 November 2014 at

Egypt: Restrictions on campus protest could spark unrest

In May 2014, Egyptian security forces entered a student housing area of Al-Azhar University, during clashes with student protesters in Cairo. (Photo: Ahmed Hendawy /Demotix)

With just a few weeks to go before Egyptian universities open their gates to students for the start of the new academic year, the Egyptian authorities are feeling jittery — and rightly so.

The previous academic year saw an unprecedented wave of violence at universities across the country with clashes between “anti-coup” student-protesters and security forces on an almost daily occurrence that forced the repeated postponement of exams. At least 14 students were killed in the violence, hundreds of others were detained and hundreds more were expelled for organising or taking part in protests, according to Al Ahram.

Ahead of the new academic year, the authorities have taken some new, stringent measures to ensure the past year’s scenario is not repeated. They have also issued stern warnings to students that they will adopt a “zero tolerance approach” towards dissent. Any student who criticises President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi or any “symbol of the state” face repercussions. According to warnings issued last week by two major state universities –Ain Shams and Bani Suef — students who violate university regulations by “defaming public officials” will be subject to an internal disciplinary investigation and risk expulsion.

The announcement drew angry outcries from students and rights advocates who expressed their concern on social media. Critics fear the new regulation would curb the rights to free speech and expression. Since the 3 July ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi by military-backed protests, the Egyptian authorities have imposed sweeping restrictions on freedom of expression. The massive security crackdown on dissent has targeted Islamists, liberal activists , journalists and academics.

A draconian law passed last November bans protests without prior permission from the authorities. Scores of liberal opposition activists including several prominent figures in the January 2011 mass uprising have been imprisoned for protesting against the repressive legislation. Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters also languish behind bars for staging “anti-coup” protests following the overthrow of Morsi.

In February, an Egyptian court approved the stationing of police forces at universities, overturning a 2010 verdict banning police presence at educational institutions. The Ministry of Interior hailed the latest court decision, saying the police deployment was “necessary” to quell opposition protests led by supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood (designated by Egypt as a terrorist organisation following Morsi’s ouster). The beefed-up  security presence at universities has resulted in the arrests of hundreds of students and the deaths and injuries of dozens of others over the course of the past year. Many of the detained students have been sentenced to between 3 and 17 years in jail on charges of staging unauthorised protests, having links to a terror group and inciting violence.

Meanwhile, Minister of Endowments Mokhtar Gomaa has called for a purge of Islamist-leaning deans, staff and faculty members from state universities. The independent Mada Masr quoted Minister Gomaa as saying that universities should be “cleansed of academics sympathetic to the banned terrorist group”. He has also demanded that firm action be taken against the so-called “Academics Against the Coup” — an Islamist partisan group of scholars whose members are purportedly connected Al-Azhar University’s board of directors.

In another restrictive move, Cairo University Head Gaber Nassar has called for the dissolution of  student groups or organisations of any political affiliation at all universities. According to Al Youm El Sabe’ newspaper, new students enrolling at universities will now be requested to sign a document pledging not to engage in any political activities on campus.

While the government insists the new measures are part of its ongoing war against terrorism and claims that the upsurge in violence at universities is “an extension of the nationwide Muslim Brotherhood insurgency”, a security source told Index that the ban on student protests goes beyond suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood rebellion. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said that “the ban is not just aimed at restoring stability”.

“The government wants to spread a culture of submission and fear similar to that which prevailed under Hosni Mubarak. It is trying to instil the idea that the opposition is evil and must be crushed,” he added, warning that “students engaging in political activities will be accused by both the authorities and ‘patriotic’ government supporters of being affiliated to the terrorist group.”

The latest restrictions are a far cry from the period between the 1930s and the 1970s when Egyptian state universities were a hotbed for political activism and the student movement was an instrumental political force in Egyptian society. That ended, however, with amendments introduced to the student charter by late President Anwar Sadat in 1979. The changes “essentially were intended to undermine the power and activism of students on campus by dissolving the representative student bodies,” author Hisham Adawi wrote in his book In Pursuit of Legitimacy published in 2004.  While Hosni Mubarak, the authoritarian leader toppled by the 2011 protests, was relatively more tolerant of political expression and dissent than his predecessors Gamal Abdel Nasser and Sadat (at least during the early years of his rule), he too cited fears that “the university’s faculties were becoming strong recruiting points for militants”. Using this as a pretext, he again altered the charter to allow further administrative and security intervention in student activities. Mubarak’s amendments drew criticism from rights advocates who sarcastically called it “the State Security Charter” (in reference to the autocratic leader’s detested security apparatus). Despite sporadic periods of heightened tensions — particularly at Al Azhar and Cairo University — there has since been no true revival of the student movement as an influential political force in  society.

Despite the recent warnings by the authorities, angry students staged a small rally outside Cairo University last Wednesday to protest the new measures. The protesters denounced the restrictions, chanted anti-government slogans and demanded the release of their detained colleagues and academics. No fewer than 160 faculty members and staff have been arrested and detained since the July 2013 overthrow of President Morsi, according to an April 2014 report compiled by Egyptian academic rights groups and posted on the Al Jazeera Arabic website. Several academics charged with “supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood” remain at large and have either fled the country or gone into hiding.

Dr. Emad Shahin — an internationally renowned scholar of political Islam who has taught at Harvard, Notre Dame and the American University in Cairo — was charged with espionage in January. He is listed as one of the defendants in a criminal case against several Muslim Brotherhood leaders (including the deposed President Morsi) and stands accused of “conspiring with foreign organisations to undermine Egypt’s national security”.  An outspoken critic of the bloody crackdown on Morsi’s supporters after the military takeover, Shahin learnt of the arrest warrant against him while on a visit to Washington nine months ago. He has since remained in the United States and has denied the charges in an email to the New York Times. “The accusations against me are baseless, politically motivated and beyond preposterous,” he said.

Amr Hamzawy, a liberal political scientist and former lawmaker and senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Centre in Beirut, has also been charged with “insulting the judiciary”. In January, a lawsuit was filed against him by a lawyer after he questioned (on Twitter) a verdict against a group of foreign non-governmental organisations. Hamzawy was released after being investigated for several hours by the public prosecutor.

In a new case that has fuelled concern among rights advocates, Dr. Mohamed Tarek, an adjunct professor at the faculty of science at Alexandria University, was arrested, detained and allegedly tortured last week. He was arrested on 29 August from a street near his home in Alexandria, and has been held in custody since. Police later raided his home and confiscated his laptop and other personal belongings. There have been conflicting reports of his arrest: Interior Ministry sources claim they arrested him during a protest march in Moharram Beik district in Alexandria. Rights groups meanwhile, insist he was detained for giving his testimony of last year’s Raba’a massacre to Human Rights Watch. Tarek was injured in clashes with security forces during the forced dispersal of a sit-in staged by supporters of Morsi outside Raba’a El Adaweya Mosque in the Cairo neighbourhood of Nasr City in August 2013. His chilling account of the forced evacuation featured in a damning report released by Human Rights Watch last month.

According to the 195-page report titled All According to Plan, Egyptian police and the army used “grossly disproportionate and premeditated lethal force against overwhelmingly peaceful opposition protesters” resulting in the killings and injuries of hundreds of them in a single day of violence. The report describes the Raba’a deaths as “likely crimes against humanity” and calls for those responsible to be brought to justice. The Egyptian government has dismissed the report as “politicised” and “biased”. Days after the release of the report, Cairo Airport authorities prevented Human Rights Watch staff members from entering the country, saying the organisation “has no legal status that would allow it to operate in the country”. Human Rights Watch said the move was “an attempt by the Egyptian authorities to gag critics”.

While Egyptian authorities are hoping the new proposed measures will help end violence at state universities, sceptics warn the clampdown on freedoms can only further fuel the unrest. With the new academic year scheduled to begin on October 11 (instead of in late September as originally planned), many worry about a fresh eruption of unrest that may well result in even more bloodshed.

This article was posted on 10 Sept 2014 at

Egypt: A chilling message and a case in uproar

A chilling message sent by award-winning photojournalist Mosa’ab El Shamy via his Twitter account on Monday filled his 41,000 online followers with dread. Alerting them that his brother, reporter Abdullah El Shamy, had been “removed from his prison cell and taken to an unknown location”, Mosa’ab added that he was “still trying to find out more.”

Abdullah, who works as a journalist with the Arabic-language Al Jazeera (AJ) Misr Mubasher Channel, has been detained at Cairo’s Torah prison since August. He was arrested outside the Raba’a El Adaweya Mosque in Cairo’s eastern residential neighbourhood of Nasr City while filming the forced dispersal of a sit-in by supporters of toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. At least 600 protesters were killed and thousands more were injured in a single day of violence when security forces stormed the pro-Morsi encampment on August 14 .

Mosa’ab’s Twitter post provoked an angry outcry from hundreds of internet activists who demanded that the Egyptian authorities “immediately disclose the whereabouts of the 26 year-old AJ detainee.” The fact that Abdullah has been on hunger strike since January 27–and had reportedly lost a third of his body weight–further fueled concerns over his disappearance and ailing health.

“If they can let a prisoner on hunger strike like Abdullah El Shamy just vanish in Egypt, what does Foreign Minister Fahmy’s talk of ‘due process’ really mean?” asked Jonathan Moremi, a journalist with the independent Egyptian paper Daily News Egypt.

On a recent visit to the United States, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy told US Secretary of State John Kerry that the country’s courts were “independent of the government.” He insisted that a “due process” was allowed in all court cases, leading to “fair decisions” by the judges. His statements came in response to criticism from US officials and international rights groups of an April court decision sentencing 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for their role in protests last year against the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi. Kerry called the mass death sentences a “dangerous development.” Amnesty International, meanwhile, said “the Egyptian judiciary risked becoming a part of the authorities’ repressive machinery.”

In a blog titled “Where is Abdullah El Shamy?” posted on her website Wednesday, prominent Egyptian blogger Zeinobia said that blood samples taken by Abdullah’s family had shown he was “on the verge of kidney failure.” She also reminded readers that “journalism is not a crime.”

Abdullah is one of 17 journalists currently imprisoned in Egypt and one of four detainees working for the Al Jazeera news network , according to a recent report released by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists , CPJ. Sixty five journalists have been detained since the military takeover of the country in July 2013, the CPJ report adds. Analysts say Abdullah’s situation appears to be “more serious” than that of the other three AJ journalists who have been charged with “fabricating news that harms national security” and “aiding a terror group.” Abdullah has languished in prison for nine months (four months longer than his detained colleagues) and unlike them, he has not been charged thus far. Furthermore, he works for the Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, a network that has been accused by the Egyptian government of being “a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood”, designated by Egypt as a terrorist organization last December. The three other AJ detainees work for Mubasher Misr’s sister channel, Al Jazeera English, generally perceived by Egyptians as being “more balanced” and “fair”.

In a letter smuggled out of his prison cell at the end of January, Abdullah described the dire conditions inside Torah prison, saying he was sharing a tiny cell with 16 inmates. Announcing his decision to go on hunger strike “to send a message to intimidated journalists practicing self-censorship” and “exhort them to overcome their fear,” Abdullah expressed a defiant spirit, telling the military junta that nothing would break his will or his dignity. In a video smuggled out of prison , he held the Egyptian authorities responsible should harm befall him. ” I have repeatedly asked for medical attention but to no avail,” he says in the video.

It took a nerve-wracking two days for Mosa’ab to find his “missing” brother. In a second message posted on Twitter on Wednesday, he informed his online friends and fans that Abdullah had been moved to solitary confinement in Tora’s high security “Scorpion Prison”. Abdullah was being punished “for refusing to end his hunger strike and for attracting international attention to his plight,” Mosa’ab said.

Heba Saleh, the Financial Times’ Cairo Correspondent, who visited the three AJE detainees on Wednesday, offered another explanation for Abdullah’s disappearance. She quoted prison authorities as saying that Abdullah was being punished “for a smuggled cell phone found in his possession.”
Meanwhile, the trial of the three Al Jazeera English journalists –Australian journalist Peter Greste, Cairo Bureau Chief Mohamed Fahmy and producer Baher Mohamed–took a turn for the worse on Thursday when Lawyer Farag Fathy– the Defence Attorney representing Greste–quit the case, accusing the international news network of jeopardizing his client’s case.

In a surprise move on Thursday, Fathy announced he was withdrawing from the case, adding that Al Jazeera was using the trial for “promotional purposes.” Fathy’s decision to step down came after the Qatari-hosted news network served a Notice of Dispute against Egypt for breaching a 1999 investment treaty with Qatar, Hayden Cooper , ABC’s Middle East Correspondent reported on Thursday. In an article published online by Australia’s ABC news network, Cooper said Al Jazeera was seeking US Dollars 150 million in compensation from Egypt for losses the media outlet had incurred as a result of the closure of its offices in Cairo, the jamming of its satellites broadcasting in Egypt and the mistreatment of its journalists.

Thursday’s court session made little headway as defence lawyers complained to the judge that the prosecution had asked them to pay an exaggerated fee of 1.2 million Egyptian Pounds to review “the evidence.” Adjourning the trial until May 22, the judge urged the prosecutors to allow the lawyers access to the video footage they claim contains “evidence” against the defendants. He also asked them to state in writing their “desired price” for making the footage accessible to the lawyers.

The new developments threaten to further prolong the case that has dragged on for four and a half months. Defence lawyers and analysts fear the recent turn of events may also threaten the final outcome of the case, resulting in an unfair verdict. The four detained AJ journalists, including Abdullah El Shamy, are caught up in the middle of the Egypt-Qatar political dispute, they say, adding that the case is clearly “political” and hence there is little hope that justice will prevail. Abdullah, who has completed 100 days on hunger strike, may not live long enough to hear the verdict.

This article was posted on May 16, 2014 at