Three independent Egyptian newspapers ran white boxes on Thursday in the space where their editorials are usually found in protest at what they say is a bid by the Muslim Brotherhood to control the media.
“The space is white to protest against attempts by the Brotherhood to impose its control over the press and media belonging to the Egyptian people,” wrote Al-Watan which, along with Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Tahrir, did not publish editorials.
The protest came after the Brotherhood-dominated upper house of parliament named new directors and editors-in-chief for state-owned newspapers, many of them nominees close to the Islamists.
This follows the practice under the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, assuring that his now-defunct National Democratic Party would keep a firm grip on who ran the state-owned press.
The journalists’ union has protested against that practice and also against a recent act by Information Minister Salah Abdel Maqsud, a member of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
Maqsud had taken issue with the fact that an Israeli commentator was interviewed by telephone on state television. He promised an investigation into how this could have come about and promised that it would not happen again.