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Press freedom in Egypt deteriorates after new arrests

PRESS freedom in Egypt suffered a further blow today with the arrest of a journalist and former researcher for the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.

Shaima Sami was detained by security forces at her Alexandria home and taken for interrogation, her family said as they demanded her release.

Egypt’s authorities have been accused of using the Covid-19 pandemic to clamp down on the press, with scores of journalists jailed. The Guardian’s Egypt correspondent is among those who have had their press cards revoked.

Reporters are being detained for writing articles critical of the government’s coronavirus response.

Lina Attalah, editor of Egypt’s last independent media outlet, Mada Masr, was arrested on Sunday while interviewing a relative of hunger-striking activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is being held in Tora prison.

She was the fifth journalist arrested in 10 days as part of wider government measures to suppress free speech.

Earlier this month , the Egyptian Supreme Council for Media Regulation banned journalists and contributors from using a pseudonym without the written approval of the state.

In September 2019, the council published a list of press regulations, including a ban on publishing news deemed harmful to the country’s public and religious interests.

Egypt is ranked 166 out of 180 countries for press freedom.

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