By Edward Nawotka
Now that Egypt is close to eliminating censorship and opening its citizenry to a plentitude of political and religious views, the question arises of whether or not it is appropriate to have books with the most extreme views on sale in bookshops. In today’s lead story, Ramy Habeeb argues against censorship, saying that all points-of-view should be available in bookshops and improving education will help people to make up their mind about the material.
Still, is it necessary to go so far? Back in August of 2009, the Iraqi Ministry of Culture took the unexpected step of launching a program of official censorship of books in contradiction of the country’s own constitution. Needless to say, Iraqi publishers and booksellers, called it “a great step backwards on the path of freedom of thought and expression.” The government argued it needed censorship to stem the tide of extremist views which were fueling sectarian violence. The opposition argued that censorship would itself likely result in favoring one side over the other — thus fostering further sectarianism.
So, do you agree that the most extreme views should be available to readers in Egypt, particularly at a moment when emotions are so highly charged?
Let us know what you think in the comments.