“What the law means is that banning will no longer be the default position, whereby, like in the case of Mama Hessa’s Mice, the author has to go to court, at great personal expense, to get it unbanned. Instead the person who wants it banned would have to go to court for a ruling.”Continue Reading

One possible harbinger of ongoing state censorship is the caretaker government’s Minister of Culture, Mohamed al-Sawy. His appointment has not been met with enthusiasm from most artists and writers. Novelist Gamal al-Ghitani, for instance, told Ahram Online that al-Sawy’s appointment was “a disaster that defaces Egyptian culture.”Continue Reading

…the present kind of censorship by say, religious conservatives, is much more damaging and much more frightening for the writer because you don’t know exactly who you are offending, where the threat is coming from or what the possible punishment might be. When the state was exercising censorship, you knew: the book would be banned and you’d be stopped from writing for a while–maybe even go to prison for a little while if it was really bad. All this is awful, of course, but at least it’s calculable.Continue Reading