It’s only been five years, or five springs ago, but the flowering of a more democratic society in that part of the world has apparently “died on the vine.” Perhaps the most obvious example of the return of autocratic governmental control is in the largest of these countries, Egypt. Press coverage of the government’s repressive actions has resulted in increased censorship and scrutiny of the media’s activities. The current Interior Minister is now providing “guidance” that a stronger hand needs to be used to stop political protests from growing. Of course this stronger hand also includes the monitoring of social media and anti-governmental postings on websites.
The Interior Ministry has taken the position that the Egyptian police should seek to undermine the credibility of the journalists’ union by deploying retired police generals to the country’s influential, and mostly pro-government television programs to explain the Ministry’s point of view. And if that doesn’t work, why not raid the reporters’ offices and hold some of them for questioning. This has already happened with the reporters being accused of illegal possession of weapons, and being held for questioning for fifteen days.
Spring seems to be rapidly moving into winter in a part of the world where there appeared to be such a promise of new freedoms and opportunities for a younger generation. Let’s hope that springtime can come again.