Egypt | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The Press Law, the Publications Law, the penal code, strict libel laws, and the long-standing state of emergency restrict press freedom. Criticism of the president, the government, and foreign heads of state may result in fines or imprisonment. The government proposed new repressive amendments to Egypt's document laws in March, according to a report by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights. However, debate on a draft law that would ban publications likely to harm Egypt's "national security or its military, political, diplomatic, social, or economic standing" was postponed indefinitely. The government owns stock in the three major newspapers, and the president appoints their editors-in-chief. Opposition parties publish daily newspapers with government subsidies. The Labor Party newspaper al-Shaab remained closed despite a court ruling authorizing its distribution. The government's Supreme Press Council decided that as long as labor activities are frozen, the paper may not print. The government monopolizes newspaper printing and distribution. In November, two journalists were sentenced to two years in prison for publishing allegedly indecent photographs. Several writers, activists and journalists were tried on defamation charges and sentenced to fines and prison terms throughout 2001.