As if journalists didn't have a hard enough time with police forces...
Egypt’s parliament just approved restrictions on the police that enable them not to divulge particular information to all media without the prior authorisation from the Interior Ministry, according to Reuters. The move is currently causing an uproar especially among various critics and experts who claim that this decision will diminish transparency by covering up corruption, crucial information, and high-level abuses.
Accordingly, any information given by police officers such as the publishing of any documents, photos or reports related to their work shared without the written authorisation from the Interior Ministry is strictly forbidden. Those who break it could face fines up to 20,000 EGP and unspecified prison terms.
"This law is yet another example of the government's ongoing effort to undermine transparency which is essential to the proper functioning of a modern state," said Timothy Kaldas, non-resident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Police, according to Reuters. "This plan to strictly curate information from the state will exacerbate existing doubts about the integrity of government statements."
Various cases have highlighted widespread police brutality occurring during the 2011 revolution and particularly this year, such as the incident where a police officer shot a man in his genitals , two polices officers assaulting hospital doctors and a police officer shooting a man during a fight. As such president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been calling for a crackdown on police abuse. However, the latest restrictions are seen as quite problematic in the sense where they could potentially cover up high-level misconducts.
Main image courtesy of Ahmed Gomaa/ Associated Press.