Terror charges for Al-Jazeera in Egypt prompt outcry

Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined other leading international media freedom and human rights organizations, including Article 19, Index on Censorship, and Reporters Without Borders, in calling on the European Union and United States to demand Egyptian authorities drop charges against Al-Jazeera journalists and release those under arrest.

“The deliberate chilling of media freedom and free speech through arrests and criminalization of legitimate journalism has all the hallmarks of the authoritarian Egypt of the Mubarak era,” the joint statement reads. The statement comes two days after Egyptian prosecutors said they would put 20 Al-Jazeera journalists on trial on criminal charges of incitement, distorting the country’s image abroad, and fabricating news to aid the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government has declared a terrorist organization.

Thursday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemned the prosecution, saying, “The government’s targeting of journalists and others on spurious claims is wrong and demonstrates an egregious disregard for the protection of basic rights and freedoms.” She said the U.S. is “deeply concerned.”