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Tag: Freedom of information

Draft ‘access to information’ law is nothing of the sort

Published in Ahram Online on May 13, 2013 The draft legislation on access to information ignores civil society recommendations and will lead to a toothless information watchdog that is beholden to ill-defined ‘national security’ interests At a news conference on 2 April, Judge Wael El-Rifaie, assistant for human rights affairs to the Minister of Justice, announced that the ministry had finished drafting a law entitled ‘the right to information.’ Al-Rifaie described the law as “a dream we always had, to achieve the goals of respecting a person’s right to knowledge.” As a member of civil society that discussed the drafts of…

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National security and canned sardines

Published in Ahram Online on February 9, 2013 Nothing protects national security more than responsible citizenship, critical to which is freedom of — and access to — information There is a famous story that is probably more fiction than fact about how Military Intelligence in the 1960s was excessive in its censorship of the media, to the extent that it objected to publishing an article reporting a drop in the availability of canned sardines on the market. Their objection was that while the writer did not mean to divulge military secrets, putting this information in the public domain could benefit…

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Court suspension of ‘offensive’ TV show is dangerous

Published in Ahram Online on January 21, 2013 The Administrative Court’s decision that ‘In the Balance’ will be suspended for a month shows a worrying disregard for freedom of opinion, and a dangerous paternalism on the part of judges Last week, the Administrative Court issued a verdict suspending for one month the programme “In the Balance” which airs on Al-Hafez channel, and banning media figures Atef Abdel-Rashid and Sheikh Abdallah Badr from appearing in the media for a month. While the court ruling in its reasoning said that the aforementioned programme often broadcasts scenes and discusses issues that are indecent…

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In Egypt, History for the People

An article by Ursula Lindsey published in the Chronicle of Higher Education on June 12, 2012 Group hopes to encourage inquiry with an open archive of the revolution THE EGYPTIANS who poured into the streets of their cities early this year were well aware that they were making history. “In 10 years, when I see my children studying Egyptian history, I want to say: ‘I was there,’” Ahmad, a young demonstrator on his way into Tahrir Square, told me on February 4, a week before President Hosni Mubarak was driven from office. Egypt is still living through its revolution, and…

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The production of knowledge

Published in Egypt Independent on March 6, 2012 During my student years at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in the early 1980s I used to work as an employee at the university library. This was by far one of the most enjoyable jobs I have ever had. On Saturdays, when no classes were held, but when the library itself was open, I used to be the supervisor of the whole library, and in this capacity, I would come at ten in the morning and leave at eight at night. Like many quirky librarians (I suspect), I would spend these…

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