purpose of this research is to find out whether satellite
communication has increased freedom of speech in Egypt.
communication was operationalised as communication
that use satellite for whole or part of the communication
event. This includes broadcasting, internet and cellular
Freedom of speech was defined as the non-interference
of the government in communication between individuals
heads of five Egyptian organisations were contacted
in three fields, Non governmental, Private and Media,
and then interviewed. The organisations were selected
for their involvement in the field of communication,
based on size.
sources such as newspapers were used where
relevant, as was secondary sources
such as interviews with satellite operators and Egyptian
officials, conducted by other than the author.
was found that freedom of speech had increased as a
result of the introduction of satellite communication,
and that this was in spite of a harsher government policy
towards freedom of speech.
of satellite reception equipment, computers and mobile
phones are still limited to under 2 percent of the population,
but the availability of that "second opinion"
has made changes in the way domestic broadcasting presents
news as well. All of the organisations contacted in
this study were present on the World Wide Web, many
of them with bilingual sites.
was not found that satellite communication had any significant
effect upon freedom of the press, which still is heavily
controlled by the government.
is not to say that government criticism does not appear
in the newspapers, but rather that the situation
for Egyptian publishers and journalists has become worse
than it already was in the last ten years.
Government ownership of the media
and control over information has been the rule rather
than the exception in the modern history of Egypt. Though
a number of sectors have been privatised in recent years,
the Egyptian media industry remains largely under government
This control includes licensing
of journalists, licensing of newspapers, censorship
bureaus and economic controls. Economic controls can
take the form of taxing and subsidies (or the lack thereof).
The print media have generally been the easier media
to monitor, as the publications must be physically present
in Egypt to cause controversy.