Ibrahim Eissa (Arabic: ابراهيم عيسى, alternative spelling: Ibraheem Isa; 1965-) is an Egyptian journalist, editor, television host, novelist and political activist, who is also known for being one of the first to highlight and oppose the grooming of Gamal Mubarak for the presidency.He was born in the Minufiya governorate.
He enrolled in Cairo University’s school of journalism and started his career as a journalist while he was studying. During his freshman year, Ibrahim Eissa worked for the state-owned journal Rose el-Youssef. He worked there for ten years but later claimed that the journal did not allow him to express his opinions freely.
In 1995, Eissa left Rose el-Youssef to become editor-in-chief of al-Dostor, a weekly journal that became daily in 2007. In 1998, al-Dostor was banned by the Egyptian Ministry of Information for publishing a statement by a member of al-Gamaʿa Islamiya (the Islamic Group). The journal remained banned from release until 2004. In 2010, the head of the political party al-Wafd, Sayyid al-Badawi, bought the newspaper and dismissed Eissa. Many believe that Eissa's dismissal was a political act on Sayyid al-Badawi's part. Eissa and his supporters then established an online journal named al-Dostor al-Haqiqi (The Real Dostor), which he no longer heads.
He also hosted several TV shows like al-Fihris (The Index) and al-Ahwa (The Cafe) on Dream TV and Nahnu Huna (We are Here) and Baladna bil-Masri (Our Country in the Egyptian [Colloquial] Dialect) on OTV. One of his most controversial TV shows was Hamra (Red) which was broadcast in Ramadan on the channel al-Qahira wa al-Nas (Cairo and the People). When used alone in Egyptian slang, the word Hamra is the equivalent of the expletive f___ in English. Ibrahim Eissa chose this name for the show to reflect how he feels about the Mubarak regime and its actions.
Because of his constant opposition to the government, Ibrahim Eissa went through many hardships. The three newspapers he headed al-Dostor Weekly, al-Dostor Daily, and Sawt al-Umma were all censored and banned on several occasions. Further, he was dismissed from the channels Dream TV and OTV. He currently works for the privately owned channel ONTV.
In March 2008, Ibrahim Eissa was sentenced to six months in prison for questioning Mubarak's health. The court claimed that his articles "threatened national stability and caused foreign investors to pull their money out of the country." But in September 2008, the appeals court overturned the ruling and instead sentenced him to two months imprisonment but upheld a 20,000 Egyptian pound (US$3,540) fine against him. A month later, however, Eissa received presidential pardon before completing his sentence.
In March 2011, Ibrahim Eissa won the "Guardian Journalism Award" in the UK. The award "recognises journalism of dogged determination and bravery...[and] celebrates quality investigative journalism across the full range of media including print, online, radio and television". Upon receiving the award, Eissa gave a short speech about the limitations journalists in Egypt faced under the old regime. He said that "On the land of Egypt, this statue of the Ancient Egyptian Scribe representing the first writer of an article on earth remained imprisoned and subdued, until finally, 6,000 years later, he rose on the 25th of January to hail the fall of the Pharaoh [sic]". He expressed hope that things will change for journalists after the fall of the regime. In a video recording three months later, however, he seemed skeptical that journalists would be given leeway, for he felt that writers got rid of the shackles of the Mubarak regime but became tethered by the shackles of the ruling military.
In June 2011, he was given permission to start and publish a new newspaper, which he called al-Tahrir, and became its editor-in-chief.
In late November 2011, he wrote a strongly worded article about the police's agression towards protesters in Tahrir Square after particularly violent clashes started on November 18, 2011. He writes:
- Why did the Interior Ministry building become so sacrosanct that protesters are prevented from reaching it? They [the police] kill tens of martyrs just to prevent them from reaching the building. Is this not the same building that tens of young men urinated on during the protests of September 9...? Is it not the same building that thousands of policemen gathered infront of...? Why then has this building become a justification for murder, brutality and a series of massacres?
- The Egyptian people will never again allow anyone to tamper with their dignity and pride... Why do policemen insist on treating civilians with brutality?... It has become apparent that it [brutality] is a characteristic fully entrenched in the police force that was raised in the Mubarak era, that believed it was above the law and the people... Egypt lived on for almost ten months without police and will live for another ten months without them.
Ibrahim Eissa was also the editor-in-chief of Sawt al-Umma newspaper from 2004 to 2007. He wrote several books including Qissat Hubbihim (Their Love Story), Indama Kunna Nuhib (When We Used To Love), Ithhab ila Firʿawn (Go to Pharaoh), and Rigal baʿd al-Rasul (Men after the Prophet). Yet the most controversial of those books were An Mubarak Wa Asrih Wa Misrah (On Mubarak, His Era, and His Egypt), and Maqtal al-Ragul al-Kabir (The Murder of the Big Man). Mubarak's supporters and apologists used to point to these books and claim that the fact that these books were allowed to be published reflects the tolerance and democratic virtues of the Mubarak regime.
- ↑ "Ibrahim Eissa". Al-Youm al-Sabiʿ English May 5, 2011 http://english.youm7.com/wikiNews.asp?NewsID=339638 Accessed August 4, 2011
- ↑ "Ibrahim Eissa". Al-Youm al-Sabiʿ English
- ↑ El-Deeb, Sarah. "Ibrahim Eissa, Egyptian Journalist, Gets Jail Time For Reports On Mubarak." Associated Press. September 28, 2008. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/28/ibrahim-eissa-egyptian-jo_n_130042.html Accessed October 15, 2011
- ↑ "Court strikes down jail time but upholds fines against editors Ibrahim Eissa, Adel Hamouda, Wael el-Abrashi and Abd Al-Halim Qandil". CPJ. February 2, 2009. http://www.ifex.org/egypt/2009/02/02/court_strikes_down_jail_time_but/ Accessed October 15, 2011
- ↑ "Egyptian Court Overturns Journalists' Prison Sentences." Amnesty International. February 2, 2009. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/good-news/egyptian-court-overturns-journalists-prison-sentences-20090202 Accessed October 15, 2011
- ↑ "Ibrahim Eissa: INDEX on CENSORSHIP AWARDS 2011" Youtube. March 29, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdeTPqrqntM Accessed August 4, 2011
- ↑ "Ibrahim Eissa: INDEX on CENSORSHIP AWARDS 2011" Youtube.
- ↑ Interview by Mona Mahmood, Christian Bennett, Brian Whitaker and Mustafa Khalili. "Ibrahim Eissa: 'Real free media means journalists owning their media organisations." Reuters. June 3, 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2011/jun/06/ibrahim-eissa-egypt-media Accessed August 4, 2011
- ↑ Abd al-Hamid, Ashraf. "Garidat al-Tahrir bi-Ri'asit Ibrahim Isa" Akhbar Baladna Online. June 14, 2011. http://www.akhbarbaladna.org/أخبار-بلدنا/أخبار-بلدنا/أخبار-عاجلة/2066-جريدة-التحرير-برئاسة-ابراهيم-عيسى.html Accessed August 4, 2011
- ↑ Isa, Ibrahim. "Ibrahim Isa Yaktub: "Kan fi Minnuh wa-Khilis." Al-Dostor. November 23, 2011. http://www.dostor.org/editorial/11/november/23/62365 Accessed November 24, 2011
Carr, Sarah. "Journalists' Syndicate Petitions to Freeze Eissa Sentence." Daily News Egypt. September 29, 2008. http://www.dailystaregypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=16812 Accessed October 15, 2011.
Labidi, Kamel. "Egyptian journalists face the trials of September." Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Blog. September 2, 2008. http://cpj.org/blog/2008/09/egyptian-journalists-face-the-dreaded-trials-of-se.php Accessed October 15, 2011.
"Leading independent editor sentenced to six months in jail." CPJ. March 26, 2008. http://cpj.org/2008/03/leading-independent-editor-sentenced-to-six-months.php Accessed May 21, 2011