Right now journalists and media commentators all over the world are expressing their shock, anger and outrage at the prison sentences handed to three Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt. And rightly so. This is a palpable injustice. The sentencing Judge, seemingly without a sense of irony, found the three guilty of “spreading false reports.” Whole newspapers would need to close if there were comparable laws for the British press.
The supreme irony, however, is this. Many of those outraged at this Egyptian decision are the very same journalists and commentators who were, very recently, accusing the Australian Prime Minister of muzzling the ABC, of being a danger to democracy, and imperiling free speech, over his reaction to the epic ABC stuff up was the Zaky Mallah affair. Ignorant of their own hyperbole, these journalists are now lamenting the train wreck that is the Egyptian justice system, and observing in real time what an attack on free speech actually looks like.