In an editorial titled "Deaf on the Nile," Britain's Times urged Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to listen to critical voices rather than muzzle them.
Egypt under Sisi lives in the silence of graves and many critics of his policies remain in prison or in exile. Freedoms are dwindling and social media are under scrutiny and police are reluctant to call human rights activists for questioning.
She pointed out that the opponents under the regime of deposed President Hosni Mubarak were also being pursued, but was released and return to their work provided that they do not criticize the Egyptian dictator or the army in public.
But today, it seems, there are no clear lines of control, and the result was an explosion of public outrage sparked by a relatively obscure person, the contractor, Mohamed Ali, who lives outside Egypt and has talked about Sisi's corruption and accused him of wasting public money in building presidential palaces.
As Sisi met US President Donald Trump in New York yesterday, security leaders gathered in Cairo to try to understand how protests that directly targeted military corruption could spread so quickly across Egyptian cities.
The paper pointed to the circulation of different theories about these spontaneous disturbances, that they could be directed by a faction in the army and dissatisfied with Sisi, or because of friction between the various wings in the sprawling security system.
The paper said that large sections of the urban population feel pressure, and that it accepted the control of Sisi because he promised economic stability and protection from terrorism of the Islamic State.
Today, these sectors see a country that is still torn and rippling with problems and in the hands of Saudi Arabia, and allows the generals to get richer, according to the videos broadcast by the contractor artist Mohamed Ali.
Times said Mohamed Ali was right to say that Sisi needed to address criticism that he was a tool in the hands of the military, not a servant of the general public.
She concluded that Sisi could begin by halting work on new presidential palaces and encouraging the press to investigate state corruption.