New York, July 3, 2013–Authorities in Egypt’s new military-run government raided Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian station today, disrupting its service, and shut down at least three stations supportive of Mohamed Morsi in a worrying series of moves that seemed designed to cut off coverage of pro-Morsi events, according to news accounts.
Al-Jazeera reported that security forces raided the Cairo offices of its Egyptian station, Al-Jazeera Mubashir, late today, interrupting service, and detaining several people. The raid came during a live broadcast, the station said. Reuters also reported the raid, citing an account from a station journalist who said coverage of a pro-Morsi rally had also been obstructed.
Misr25, the Muslim Brotherhood’s television station, went off the air minutes after Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian defense minister, announced Morsi’s ouster, state media reported. A live feed from Misr25 that was being carried by Al-Jazeera English suddenly went black, as did the outlet’s live YouTube feed. Misr25 had carried news and commentary that directly reflected the Muslim Brotherhood’s political perspective.
The state-run Al-Ahram and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said two other pro-Morsi channels, the Salafi-affiliated Al-Hafiz and Al-Nas, also went off the air at that time. Al-Ahram said police entered the Media Production City offices of all three stations.
As CPJ reported earlier today, military units entered the state media newsroom today to monitor content and ensure the military’s messages were broadcast.
“We are concerned by reports that authorities are shutting down television coverage based on political perspective,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Coordinator. “We urge the military not to deprive Egyptians of information sources at this important juncture.”
- For more data and analysis, visit CPJ’s Egypt page.