Al Ghad newspaper banned

This morning I went out to buy my papers, thinking I'd see the new mouthpiece of the Al Ghad party out there. The newspaper vendor hadn't heard of it. Bizarre, I thought -- the release had been widely announced for today. It turns out things happened differently -- as a press release I just received makes clear:

Lawyer Nassir Amin, Director of the Arab Center for the Independence of Judiciary and Legal Profession (ACIJLP), the spokesperson of Alliance for Democracy and Reform (ADR)expressed the concern of the alliance regarding the decision of the High Council of Press in February 8th 2005, Tuesday on not allowing the issuance and printing of Al-Ghad newspaper.


The Alliance’s spokesperson said that the concern of the Alliance is increasing as the decision comes at the same time of the investigations with the chairmen of Al-Ghad party and parliament member Dr. Aymn Nour . He afraid that this decision may show the real dimensions of the accusations against Dr. Nour. The Alliance’s spokesperson said that the allied institutions consider this decision contradicts with the statements of Mr. Safwat El Sherif, General Secretary of National Democratic Party and president of the Shoura Council, who assured that the investigations with Dr. Nour have no relation with Al-Ghad party and will not affect the existence of the party in the Egyptian political life.


The Alliance’s spokesperson said that this decision may lead the party and its newspaper to a series of judicial appeals and then to not implementing the sentence of the judiciary as happened with El Shab newspaper that issued by Al-Amal party and El-Dastour newspaper. He added that the two newspapers are not allowed to work although the judiciary issued many sentences allowing the issuance of the newspapers.


The Alliance’s spokesperson appeals to the President of the Republic to intervene to protect Al-Ghad party and to allow issuing the party’s newspaper. The Alliance’s spokesperson indicated the danger of the decision on the on-going dialogue between the National Democratic Party and opposition parties, and he explained the negative consequences of the decision on the endeavors to create openness in the political atmosphere in Egypt.


It looks like Al Ghad (party and paper) may be heading for the political freezer, like Al Shaab (the Labor Party mouthpiece) did a few years ago. Which makes you wonder why they allowed the party to be created in the first place.