Through his role in the island case, Ali has become the face of Egypt’s secular revolutionaries, who were the driving force of the Arab Spring protests in 2011. His detention follows a spate of arrests targeting media and opposition figures, in what rights groups have called Egypt’s harshest crackdown on dissent in decades.
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Al-Sisi is facing a ticking time bomb. The pressure to improve the lives of millions of unemployed youth, many of whom took part in the 2011 revolution, is his biggest incentive to limit corruption. Doing so must translate into more prosperity for working-class Egyptians, and soon. But it may already be too late.
At the root of the conflict between Iran and its Arab neighbours lies the Shia-Sunni divide, as the patrons of the two Muslim sects, Tehran and Riyadh respectively, are both prepared to promote and support their sectarian beliefs. Conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Bahrain can be viewed in this light. Yet it is also the result of an ordinary struggle between two regional powers.
Lebanon’s 21st-century media is burgeoning, with private newspapers, radio stations, television channels and online publications. However, the environment is highly partisan and reflective of the country’s political and sectarian divisions. In fact, the Lebanese media’s most distinctive feature is that all major outlets are affiliated with a particular sect or political movement.
The EU’s efforts to reach an agreement with Egypt suggest an anticipated rise in migration attempts, especially as the deal with Libya has made migration via that country harder. Such an agreement could limit the number of boat departures and will likely increase the number of arrests of migrants and smugglers along Egypt’s coast. But it will not deter African refugees from attempting to reach Europe.
When King Abdullah acceded to the throne in 1999, there were initial signals that the media environment would become freer. The 2003 Audio Visual Law ended the government’s monopoly on radio and television broadcasting, and in 2007, Jordan became the first Arab country to pass a freedom of information law.