Elimination of Any Reference to Censorship in the Egyptian Constitution. Article 48 of the (currently suspended) Egyptian Constitution expressly permits the direct government censorship of news media when the country is in a state of emergency law (which was the case for Mubarak’s entire thirty-year reign). “In a state of emergency or in time of war, a limited censorship may be imposed on mass media in matters related to public safety or purposes of national security.” Of course, under martial law or in times of war, journalistic scrutiny is even more important. Constitutions need press freedom guarantees, not exceptions.
Certainly, Egyptian journalists are aware of these needed improvements, and I’m not writing this column as a reminder to them. It’s just that much of the world went about its business during the thirty years Mubarak brutalized journalists. Egypt finally has the world’s attention, and anyone anywhere with any say needs to lend their voice so that Egyptians may always freely raise theirs.