Nov 24, 2019

Egypt arrests editor of last major independent news outlet

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Berlin, Nov. 20. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Egyptian security officers on Sunday reportedly raided the newsroom of Mada Masr, the country's last major independent news outlet, after arresting a senior editor in his home and deporting another who is an American citizen, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Mada Masr is a critical source of information in the country. The raid and arrest are the latest developments in Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's six-year crackdown on press freedom.

Context: On Wednesday, Mada Masr reported that Sisi was removing his son from his role overseeing the intelligence service and sending him on an assignment to the Egyptian Embassy in Moscow, citing unidentified sources.

  • Since 2013, many news organizations have come under the government's control. Those pro-government media outlets "uniformly" ignored the report, per the Times.
  • Mada Masr claims that the officers who arrested the editor gave no explanation and did not present a warrant. "He has done nothing more than use words to report the news," the news outlet said.

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The free press is getting squeezed, even in democracies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The corruption indictments issued for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week include charges that he sought to manipulate the media to secure more favorable coverage.

Why it matters: Such interventions have become more prevalent around the world, including in democracies. As we've seen in places like Russia and Turkey, one of the surest signs democracy is being eroded is a crackdown on independent media.

Giuliani visits Ukraine to meet with prosecutors at heart of impeachment inquiry

Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani traveled to Ukraine and Hungary this week in order to meet with the same former Ukrainian prosecutors whose unsubstantiated claims about Joe Biden and his son helped set off the impeachment inquiry, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The overtures to Yuri Lutsenko, Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn Kulyk — all of whom have faced allegations of corruption — are part of an effort to solicit new information that Giuliani hopes will undercut the impeachment proceedings, according to the Times.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

1,000 Iranians may have been killed in protests, U.S. estimates

Brian Hook. Photo: Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook said at a press conference Thursday that the Iranian government "could have murdered over 1,000 Iranian citizens" during a crackdown on protests in recent weeks, calling it "the worst political crisis the regime has faced in its 40 years."

Why it matters: While the Iranian government appears to have carried out its deadliest crackdown since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Hook's number is far higher than most other credible estimates. Amnesty International has confirmed 208 deaths.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019