FREEDOM ON THE MARCH….Marc Lynch reports on the latest from Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt:
I was bowled over by [an] al-Jazeera show discussing a draft law in the Egyptian Parliament to “combat rumours.” The law, proposed by a member of Mubarak’s NDP, would create a special unit assigned to combat the spread of “false information”….Egyptian NDP Parliamentarian Hisham Mustafa Khalil defended the draft law as necessary to protect national security and the Egyptian economy.
….Even if it can’t realistically force a Mubarak to allow himself to be voted out of office, the US should be able to demand that its allies respect core values such as human rights and freedom of speech ? especially at a time when Egypt’s aid package is sort of, kind of, open for discussion. If Egypt actually passed a law like this, it would make a complete mockery of America’s democracy talk ? again.
If Mubarak and the State Department were smart, they’d deliberately set up some loyal party member to introduce a bill like this solely so Mubarak could kill it, thus earning brownie points for openness and liberalism. I have a feeling that’s not what’s going on, though.