New York, July 5, 2013–The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed that Egypt’s new military-run government is detaining journalists and censoring news outlets, including those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, despite proclaiming an intention to be inclusive.
“If the interim government is sincere about pursuing reconciliation and democracy, it must begin by respecting freedom of the press. All voices, including those of the Muslim Brotherhood, must be heard,” Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said. “The government should not repeat its predecessors’ mistakes of trying to silence dissent. Egyptian television stations should be allowed to operate freely and media staff should be released immediately.”
On Thursday, the Al-Ahram government printing house refused to print the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice daily, according to news reports. Today, news reports said Egypt’s Nilesat satellite operator jammed three pan-Arab religious satellite television stations, Hamas affiliated Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa and Jordanian Al-Yarmouk, while they broadcast Cairo demonstrations by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
On Wednesday, the military raided Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian television station and shut down at least three stations supportive of Morsi, including one operated by the Brotherhood, according to CPJ research. The police arrested at least two prominent Islamist television hosts and many others who worked at those channels, The New York Times reported. Dozens of station staff, including journalists, are detained in undisclosed locations, without access to lawyers or families, relatives told local human rights and press freedom organizations today. Al-Jazeera said today that the manager of Al-Jazeera Mubashir, Ayman Gaballah, was released after being detained since Wednesday.
Interim President Adly Mansour was sworn into office on Thursday. He vowed in his first speech and in television interviews to embark on efforts for national reconciliation and to engage the Muslim Brotherhood. However, today he issued a decree to dissolve the Islamist-majority upper chamber of Parliament, which may deepen the country’s political crisis. As huge numbers of Morsi supporters took to the streets today, vowing to reinstate the ousted leader, five of his supporters were killed when the army fired on demonstrators marching to an army building where they believed Morsi was being held.
- For more data and analysis, visit CPJ’s Egypt page.