Egyptian press freedom is a key component of the revolution and the country's move toward democracy, says a University of Arizona graduate student who spent the summer there.

Britain Eakin, a master's degree candidate in the School of Journalism and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, worked as a reporter intern for an English-language newspaper in Cairo.

Eakin said she saw that press freedom was and remains different than in the U.S., but at the same time she saw "a loosening of the press that has historically been repressed."

"People are no longer afraid to voice their opinions," Eakin said. "There are a lot more op-eds, for example. The military and the government are not necessarily taboo topics any more."

She said the English-language press enjoys more freedom in Egypt than the Arab-language press "simply because it doesn't reach as many people. The government's not as worried about its influence. But it seems that when I talked to people, they thought one of the lasting legacies of the revolution is a transformation to press freedom."

Eakin's time in Egypt included many historical events: the first democratic election of a president, the dissolution of Parliament and reinstatement of the emergency law. She said she spent a lot of time at Cairo's now-famed Tahir Square observing people.

"It was very interesting to watch and to speak with Egyptians," she said. "That was probably my favorite part of my experience ... It was interesting to see the protest movement get renewed while I was there, in the wake of the verdict of the Hosni Mubarak trial. Tahir came to life again in the immediate wake of that."