News / Middle East

US Concerned About Freedom of Speech in Egypt, Bahrain

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)
x
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)
STATE DEPARTMENT — The United States says it is concerned about new restrictions on freedoms of expression in Mideast allies Egypt and Bahrain.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the Obama administration is "very concerned" by reports that the Egyptian government is moving to restrict media freedom and criticism including preventing the distribution of a newspaper and suspending a satellite television channel that feature opponents of President Mohamed Morsi.

"Freedom of the press, freedom of expression are fundamental tenets of vibrant, strong democracies. They are part and parcel of what the Egyptian people went into the streets for, and we join the Egyptian people in expecting that their new government will support and extend freedom of the press, so this is something that we are watching closely," Nuland said,.

Egypt's official MENA news agency says Al-Faraeen satellite channel owner Tawfiq Okasha will face trial September 1 on charges of calling for President Morsi's murder. It says Al-Dustour newspaper editor Islam Afifi will be tried August 23 on charges of spreading false news and inciting disorder.

Okasha was a member of parliament for Egypt's former ruling party and has accused the United States of helping rig this year's presidential vote in favor of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

An Egyptian court ordered the confiscation of Saturday's edition of Al-Dustour, which featured a front-page article calling on civilians to join the military in confronting what it called a Muslim Brotherhood "emirate."

As Egypt moves toward the drafting of a new constitution, Nuland says the United States is calling on everyone involved in the process to support democratic principles.

In Bahrain, Nuland says the Obama administration believes authorities should vacate a sentence against human rights advocate Nabeel Rajab, who is also facing charges over an Internet tweet critical of the prime minister.

"It's critical for all governments, including Bahrain, to respect freedom of express, freedom of assembly, so we are deeply troubled by the sentencing today of Nabeel Rajab to three years in prison on charges of illegally gathering," Nuland said.

She says the United States believes that all people have a fundamental freedom to participate in civil acts of peaceful disobedience.

"And we call on the government of Bahrain to take steps to build confidence across Bahraini society and to begin a really meaningful dialogue with the political opposition and civil society. Because actions like this sentencing today only serve to further divide Bahraini society," she said.

She says Washington supports a national dialogue in Bahrain to "heal the country and get the constituencies talking to each other about reform that is going to protect the rights of all citizens."

Last year, Bahrain's U.S.-allied Sunni rulers suppressed a public uprising by majority Shi'ites with security assistance from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid