Muslim Brotherhood Newspaper Soldiers on Despite Crackdown

This is a very interesting article from Reuters:

Whenever Muslim Brotherhood journalist Islam Tawfiq files a story about the group’s struggle for survival for its newspaper Freedom and Justice, he fears his Internet address will tip off state security agents to his whereabouts.

Thousands of Brotherhood members have been arrested in a widening crackdown on the group since the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on July 3.

Reporters for the newspaper, which still appears in a tiny fraction of its previous circulation, see themselves as the last people left to tell the Brotherhood’s side of the story in a country dominated by media that back the military crackdown.

The price, the journalists say, is an underground existence, moving from place to place, communicating from Internet cafes, rarely seeing family or friends.

“The greatest form of jihad is speaking up against an unjust authority,” Tawfiq, 27, said by telephone from an undisclosed location, citing the words of the Prophet Mohammad.

It also has two very interesting tidbits of information I did not know previously about the paper. The first concerns where it got its money:

He and about 50 others produce Freedom and Justice. It used to be a 16-page daily but is now half that length because, since the arrest of Saad al-Katatni, chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party and the newspaper’s financier, it has no money.

And the second concerns who printed it, and does still:

A mystery is why the government, which has closed down Islamist television channels, still allows the paper to be printed on the presses of the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.

Some suggest it may help keep tabs on the movement, in the knowledge that the paper is struggling to stay afloat and reaching only a small audience. It also could provide a defense against accusations that the government is suppressing dissent.

The article also mentions that none of the paper’s employees are arrested, though it tells a horrific story of a photographer who was killed at a protest.

Now that we are back in Egypt after a long visit away, I am curious to find out the condition of mid-level Brotherhood members. I called one on the phone from the US and he spoke freely. Others, even prominent members, appear to speak freely in the press. Reports say that 100s have been arrested; do the rest live in immanent fear?

But courage to the FJP journalists who are still trying to tell their side of the story. I only hope they tell it objectively, rather than continuing in the pattern of partisan press they and others engaged in prior to the deposing of Morsi.

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