Egypt’s Morsi in fresh bid to repair his image
An activist holds a poster with an image depicting Egypt’s President Morsi. The president decided to connect with citizens every evening over Twitter.Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has introduced fresh moves to soften his image in his country and abroad, by hosting daily Twitter sessions to connect with people and withdrawing legal complaints filed by the presidency against journalists.
Morsi announced plans to respond to citizens’ concerns every night on Twitter, in a move that appeared to be aimed at placating concerns about his government amid rising concerns from the opposition.
Morsi is to connect with citizens between 9 and 9.30 p.m. every evening, British Daily Guardian reported. The Morsi administration has been subject to heightened foreign scrutiny in recent weeks, following a crackdown on journalists, activists and media personalities.
During his campaign for the presidency last year, Morsi committed himself to guaranteeing media freedoms, promising not to “prevent anyone from writing.” But lawyer and human rights advocate Gamal Eid said there have been four times more complaints for “insults against the president” in the first 200 days of Morsi’s administration than in all the 30 years of Hosni Mubarak rule.
In another move, President Morsi ordered the withdrawal of complaints filed against journalists for publishing rumors about him, according to Agence France-Presse.
Free media move
“The president has ordered the withdrawal of all legal complaints filed against journalists for publishing rumors about him,” the statement, posted April 10 on the presidency’s Twitter account, said. The president’s order to withdraw legal complaints against journalists pertains to those complaints filed by his legal staff. No details were given on specific cases. State news agency MENA said the decision had been taken “out of respect for freedom of speech.”
One case in which the presidency took legal action was against television presenter Mahmoud Saad. He interviewed psychologist Manal Omar, who claimed Morsi suffered psychological problems as a result of having been jailed under the regime of ousted president Mubarak.
The most prominent case was that of the wildly popular humorist Bassem Youssef, whose weekly political satire program Al-Bernameg (The Show) has spared few public figures of merciless critique. Youseff is currently on bail pending investigation into charges of insulting Morsi and Islam. The president has said complaints against Youseff had come from “citizens” who found his humor objectionable, and not from his office.
ARMY ‘INVOLVED’ IN TORTURE
Egypt’s armed forces participated in forced disappearances, torture and killings across the country during the 2011 uprising, a leaked report has revealed.
The report, submitted to President Mohamed Morsi in January, has yet to be made public, but a chapter seen by the British daily Guardian shows that during mass protests against then-President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s armed forces participated in forced disappearances, torture and killings across the country - including in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum - even as military leaders declared their neutrality. The report recommends that the government investigate the highest ranks of the military to determine who was responsible.