Egyptian officials detained a New York Times correspondent after he arrived in Cairo on Monday, holding him incommunicado for hours before forcing him onto a flight back to London without explanation.
The move against the correspondent, David D. Kirkpatrick, is an escalation of a severe crackdown against the news media under Egypt’s strongman leader, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Egyptian journalists have borne the brunt of Mr. el-Sisi’s repression, with dozens imprisoned or forced into exile. But of late, a lack of pushback from the United States has emboldened Egypt’s security forces to take stronger action against representatives of Western news outlets, including expulsion.
The Egyptian authorities routinely denounce human rights groups, independent journalists and other critics as agents of foreign powers or purveyors of fake news. Their language often echoes that coming from Washington.
THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
Defenders of press freedom worry that President Trump’s outbursts — such as a Twitter post last weekend that read “THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” — embolden autocrats around the globe to take aggressive action against the news media.
Despite growing human rights abuses in Egypt, Mr. Trump counts Mr. el-Sisi among his closest allies in the Middle East and has described him as a “great guy.” During a speech in Cairo in January, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered further praise for Mr. el-Sisi. [Continue reading…]