Egypt: Freedom of Expression

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 17th October 2011.

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Photo of Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander Shadow Foreign Secretary

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the extent of freedom of speech in Egypt.

Photo of William Hague William Hague The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

There is greater space for public debate in Egyptian society since the fall of Mubarak. But we are concerned about limits on freedom of expression in Egypt, including the increase in prosecutions of bloggers and activists, and closing of satellite television stations. Our embassy in Cairo maintains regular contact with the Egyptian Government on human rights issues.

On 7 October 2011 the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend Alistair Burt, issued a statement expressing our serious concerns about the treatment of Maikel Nabil Sanad, an Egyptian blogger sentenced to three years imprisonment on 10 April by an Egyptian military court. He also stated the British Government's view that freedom of expression, including freedom of media and the ability for citizens to debate issues and challenge their governments, is fundamental to building a democratic society, and that we will continue to follow the human rights situation in Egypt closely.

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