Egypt releases prominent photojournalist after 5-year term

Mahmoud Abu Zaid, a photojournalist known as ‘Shawkan,’ was ordered released by a court in September but remained in jail as authorities said his release was being processed. (AFP)
Updated 04 March 2019
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Egypt releases prominent photojournalist after 5-year term

  • Mahmoud Abu Zaid, a photojournalist known as ‘Shawkan,’ was convicted for involvement in a 2013 sit-in protest by Islamists
  • Egypt under general-turned-president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has launched an unprecedented assault on journalists in recent years

CAIRO: An Egyptian photojournalist was released after five years in prison and returned home on Monday, pledging to continue working despite having to spend the nights at a police station nearby.
Mahmoud Abu Zaid, known as “Shawkan,” was convicted of involvement in a 2013 sit-in protest by Islamists that was broken up by Egyptian security forces in an operation that left hundreds dead.
Shawkan was taking photos at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in Cairo where Muslim Brotherhood supporters had staged a sit-in protest in August 2013 to denounce the ouster and detention weeks earlier of the country’s freely elected but divisive Islamist President Mohammed Mursi.
Shawkan’s lawyer, Taher Abuel-Naser, said he was released from a police station earlier in the morning. An Egyptian court had ordered Shawkan’s release last September after he had served out his term, but he remained behind bars for an additional six months in lieu of paying a fine for property damages incurred during the Rabaa Al-Adawiya crackdown.
Shawkan said that under his sentencing and following his release, he has to report to the nearest police station and spend every night there from 6 p.m. till 6 a.m. for the next five years because he has been remanded under “police observation” for that time.
Despite the restrictions, Shawkan said he would continue working as a photojournalist.


Trump complained to Twitter CEO about lost followers -source

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 April 2019
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Trump complained to Twitter CEO about lost followers -source

  • Reuters reported in 2016 Trump had been angry with Twitter because it had rejected an advertising deal with his campaign

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump met with Twitter Inc’s Chief Executive Jack Dorsey on Tuesday and spent a significant time questioning him about why he has lost some Twitter followers, a person briefed on the matter said.
The meeting, which was organized by the White House last week, came hours after Trump again attacked the social media company over his claims it is biased against conservatives.
“Great meeting this afternoon at the @WhiteHouse with @Jack from @Twitter. Lots of subjects discussed regarding their platform, and the world of social media in general. Look forward to keeping an open dialogue!” Trump tweeted, posting a photo of Dorsey and others with him in the Oval Office.
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump suggested Twitter was biased against him without providing evidence. He wrote on Twitter that the company does not “treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory.”
Twitter said in a statement Dorsey had a “constructive meeting with the president of the United States today at the president’s invitation. They discussed Twitter’s commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 US elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis.”
Unlike other major US tech company executives, Dorsey had not previously met with Trump.
He was not invited to a December 2016 meeting with president-elect Trump that featured other major tech companies. Reuters reported in 2016 Trump had been angry with Twitter because it had rejected an advertising deal with his campaign.
Trump has been upset about losing followers.
In October, Trump wrote that “Twitter has removed many people from my account and, more importantly, they have seemingly done something that makes it much harder to join — they have stifled growth to a point where it is obvious to all. A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?“
Any reduction is likely the result of Twitter’s recent moves to remove millions of suspicious accounts after it and other social media services were used in misinformation campaigns attempting to influence voters in the 2016 US presidential race and other elections, Reuters reported in October.
Shares in Twitter jumped 13 percent on Tuesday after it reported quarterly revenue above analyst estimates, which executives said was the result of weeding out spam and abusive posts and targeting ads better.
Trump lost 204,000, or 0.4 percent, of his 53.4 million followers in July when Twitter started its purge of suspicious accounts, according to social media data firm Keyhole.
Trump has one of the most-followed accounts on Twitter. But the president and Republicans in Congress have repeatedly criticized the company and its social media competitors for what they have called bias against conservatives, something Twitter denies.
Democratic US Senator Mazie Hirono said earlier this month “we cannot allow the Republican party to harass tech companies into weakening content moderation policies that already fail to remove hateful, dangerous and misleading content.”
Carlos Monje, Twitter’s public policy director, said at a Senate hearing earlier this month the site “does not use political viewpoints, perspectives or party affiliation to make any decisions, whether related to automatically ranking content on our service or how we develop or enforce our rules.”