Democracy in Hong Kong, Iraqi government problems, and Egyptian press freedom
Earlier this week an Egyptian court found three Al Jazeera journalists guilty of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered a terrorist organization, and reporting false news. Journalists Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste were sentenced to seven years and Mohamed Fahmy was sentenced to ten years in prison. The journalists deny the charges. Ashraf Khalil, a contributor for Time Magazine who is based in Cairo, has felt the impact of the trial and the verdict. He decided to turn down a contract with Al Jazeera because he felt it was too risky. He joins us to talk about his experience reporting in Egypt.
Then, hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong have voted in an an unofficial referendum demanding the right to directly elect their next leader. The referendum was organized by pro-democracy activists and comes after the Chinese government released a document saying that Hong Kong does not have “full autonomy.” Wen Huang, author of The Little Red Guard and Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel., joins us to discuss the renewed calls for greater freedom in Hong Kong.
And, Iraq’s civil strife has spilled over to its neighbors. Iran reportedly has been sending unarmed surveillance drones into Iraq and this week, Syrian warplanes flew across Iraq’s border to launch attacks against Sunni insurgents. The attack killed close to 60 Iraqis and wounded over 120, according to news reports. Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who says he approves of the Syria attacks, announced on Wednesday that he will not agree to a “national salvation government” aimed at halting the momentum of Sunni extremists. He said such a move would be a "coup against the constitution and an attempt to end the democratic experience.” U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, met with NATO leaders about Iraq in Brussels. Kerry announced plans to visit Saudi Arabia on Friday. Juan Cole is professor of History at the University of Michigan and author of the forthcoming book, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East. He’ll discuss the latest developments in this growing regional conflict.
(photo: People vote in a polling station for an unofficial referendum on democratic reform in Hong Kong Sunday, June 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung))