Ibrahim Eissa, editor-in-chief of the Egyptian newspaper, Al-Dostour, was sentenced to a prison term for the crime of writing a story that claimed President Mubarak was ill. Egyptian courts termed his offense a “dangerous crime” because by spreading false information he would cause public panic. President Mubarak, in response to world-wide anger at the sentencing, said he had “solitude for freedom of opinion and expression and for the freedom of the press” which would result in voiding the sentence against Eissa. Mr. Eissa welcomed the president’s decision but made clear he opposed the present regime and wants an end to all laws that prevent freedom of the press. Columnist Salama Ahmed Salama told Al Ahram “to a great degree it has dissolved tensions between state and press.”
Eissa pointed out there are still several cases pending against journalists who are accused of printing false information. It is important that President Murbarak finally realized the world was watching his performance as leader in a coalition that supposedly is fostering democratic ideas.