Sunday, February 01, 2009

A fine for reporting the story

Good News? No jail time for journalists who reported things the government didn't want reported, but instead a fine. It's better than jail time, but the fine has the impact of chilling any further reporting of that kind. For those who seek to report on the world as they find it, it is a dangerous neighborhood.

NYTimes: February 1, 2009
Egypt Court Says No Jail for 4 Editors

CAIRO (Reuters) — An Egyptian appeals court on Saturday overturned prison sentences given to four editors in 2007 for defaming senior members of Egypt’s ruling party, including the president and his son, judiciary officials said.

But the court in Cairo ruled that each newspaper editor must pay a fine of 20,000 Egyptian pounds, or almost $3,600, the officials said.

A lower court had sentenced the editors to a year in prison for publishing several articles that it thought damaged the reputations of the president and members of the governing National Democratic Party.

That decision was one of several in recent years that have come close to putting prominent journalists behind bars on publishing offenses.

The 2007 convictions also signaled an escalation of what political analysts describe as a campaign by the National Democratic Party against independent newspapers that have reported that President Hosni Mubarak is grooming his son Gamal to succeed him. Both father and son deny that.

The editors in this case — Ibrahim Issa, Adel Hammouda, Wael el-Ebrashi and Abdel-Halim Qandil — had remained free on bail pending their appeals.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

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