The Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) has issued a decision to fine Al-Masry Al-Youm, one of the most prominent daily newspapers in the country, EGP 250,000 (about $16,000), and refer its editor-in-chief to a disciplinary, after the newspaper published a series of articles by the businessman Salah Diab, on the development of the Sinai Peninsula. It also said the newspaper must publish an apology, as well as delete the articles and suspend publication of the Newton column for three months. Diab will be referred to the public prosecution for investigation. Diab published a series of articles criticising the state administration of Sinai, suggesting Sinai should be run by a governor who is appointed every five years with wide powers that allow him to exploit its resources and select an appropriate local government. Diab is an Egyptian businessman and founder of the newspaper and writes a daily column under the nickname “Newton.” In its statement, SCMR said that what the newspaper published is a negative model for freedom of opinion and expression that harms the country and national security.
Egypt slipped two places to 163 out of 180 countries globally on RSF’s press freedom rankings for 2019. Egypt is ranked among the four worst countries in the world in terms of imprisoning journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.