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Egypt: Author imprisoned for ‘violating public modesty’

23 February 2016

On 20 February 2016, the Egyptian author Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years in prison by a Cairo appeals court for having published in a magazine a sexually explicit excerpt of his novel that prosecutors said “violated public modesty”.  Naji (also spelled: Naje) was initially acquitted, but after the …

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Egypt: Mahraganat artists challenge limits

23 February 2016

For many youngsters in Egypt, mahraganat artists represent the voice of the people. They address social issues, relationships and drug problems. They operate in a landscape of recognition, occasional public and self-censorship and the consequences of the newly suggested committee for “the development of morals and conscience and the promotion …

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Egypt: Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery to reopen under strict restrictions

17 February 2016

Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery has reopened for two weeks to allow staff to make necessary changes to various permits and regulations  after having been closed for two months by Egyptian authorities for what they listed as “administrative irregularities”, reported Ahram Online on 16 February 2016.  Gallery director William Wells is seeking to …

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Egypt: Theatre play banned in governorate of Suez

12 February 2016

The governorate of Suez has banned the theatre play ‘Ghaybouba’ (‘Coma’), starring well-known Egyptian actor Ahmed Bedeir, in response to a public outcry over its tarnishing of Egypt’s 2011 Revolution and its martyrs. The governorate of Suez is home to the first martyrs of the 25 January uprising against Mubarak …

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Egypt five years after the revolution: Artistic freedom is stifled

25 January 2016

In the wake of a security clampdown on free expression since the military takeover of the country in July 2013, rights advocates lament that the space for free artistic expression and creativity has diminished in Egypt as restrictions on art and literary works that address politics, sex and religion, remain …

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Egypt: Arts unions granted legal powers to self-police

25 January 2016

On 9 November 2015 Minister of Justice Ahmed El-Zend granted judicial police status, or “Al Dabtia Al Kadaeia”, to both the musician’s and actor’s trade unions, effectively meaning that unions members can now legally police and regulate themselves, reported news site Dotmsr.com The controversial decision was further compounded when, on …

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Egypt: Government cancels concert marking revolution anniversary

22 January 2016

The band Elawela Balady posted on its Facebook page that they were informed by the Ministry of State of Antiquities to cancel a concert they had scheduled on 24 January 2016 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, reported The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. The …

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Egypt: Screenwriter threatened by Muslim Brotherhood

21 January 2016

Some Muslim Brotherhood members launched a media attack against serialised TV show ‘The Kingdom of Yusuf Al Maghrabi’ and its screenwriter Youssef Hamdi, including resorting to blackmail, for portraying some of the group’s members in a poor light, reported online news platform Newsbookra. The threats came after members of the …

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Egypt: Singer released after paying bail on contempt of religion charges

18 January 2016

Shaaban Abdel Rahim, famed and controversial Egyptian folklore singer, was under legal and public attacks for the Youtube release of a video of him singing Qur’an lyrics while wearing the religious clothing of Al-Azhar clerics, which landed him in jail, reported The Cairo Post. Attorney Mohammed Kamal filed a claim …

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