Winter’s tale

Each time the courts in Egypt rule against the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, they confirm an ugly reality – the ghastly winter that has set in after the Arab Spring of 2011. In fact, it should come as a surprise that the sentences handed out to Morsi and whoever is suspected of being anti-government in Egypt are still making news. For the past few years, the heavily-compromised judiciary in Egypt has passed summary verdicts away from the public eye to practically cleanse the country of dissenters. The Muslim Brotherhood has been wiped out, with Morsi sticking out among its last remnants. It is perhaps because the fifth estate is doggedly refusing to die the inglorious death it has been condemned to that the authoritarian States in the post-Spring Arab world are finding it so difficult to claim a complete victory. Journalists and media houses are in the eye of the storm, be it in Egypt or in Turkey or in Israel, where they are facing unprecedented political repression. In the latest verdict handed out by a Cairo court, Morsi has been given a life sentence while journalists of a media house that takes great pride in its Arab origin have been sentenced to death in absentia. Egypt is believed to rank second to China for the number of journalists it has jailed in recent years. Turkey is following closely on its footsteps. Together with this repression, take the actual dangers of reporting amid the crossfire in Syria and Iraq and one can imagine why the Arab world has become so dangerous for the survival of the free press.

Thankfully, the effect of the Spring of 2011 did not restrict itself to political upheaval. It also created the moment for the birth of what is now seen as a pan-Arab media revolution that is shaping the consciousness of the region. It is no longer foreign journalists who are at the forefront of this change, but the locals themselves. Th



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