Egypt orders four TV stations off the air
Al Jareera Mubasher Misr and other broadcasters ordered closed for alleged illegal operations
By: Shadi Alkasim, Li Journalism Fellow
VIENNA, Sept 4, 2013 – The International Press Institute (IPI) today called on the Egyptian government to reverse its move to silence four news channels in Egypt.
Al Jazeera and other news agencies reported yesterday that an administrative court ordered Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr and three other TV stations – Ahrar 25, Al Yarmuk and Al Quds – to cease broadcasting. Egypt’s state news agency quoted court authorities as saying that the stations were being operated illegally.
The three other stations closed include a channel affiliated with the Palestinian group Hamas, a network based in Jordan and another affiliated with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the political party of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.
Al Jazeera’s local offices were raided after Morsi was deposed on July 3 and 28 staffers were detained. They were later released.
“At a time when Egyptians and the outside world depend on diverse sources of information, the Egyptian government is silencing broadcasters and widening its web of assaults on journalism,” IPI Press Freedom Manger Barbara Trionfi said. “We implore the authorities to allow these stations to resume operations, to free journalists who have been jailed, and to end their assaults on media freedom.”
On Sept. 1, Egyptian security forces released four Al-Jazeera media workers who had been held in jail. But other journalists from Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr and Turkish state-run broadcaster TRT are still being held.
The Cairo offices of two other news media have been the targets of raids by the Egyptian security forces in the past weeks: the Iranian TV station Al-Alam on July 20 and Turkey’s Ihlas News Agency (IHA) on Aug. 20.
Since the military ousted Morsi on July 3, at least five journalists have been killed.
IPI today renewed its call for authorities to immediately release all journalists under detention in Egypt. IPI has also repeatedly called for Egypt’s interim government to respect its international obligations to respect press freedom and the safety of both Egyptian and foreign journalists who are covering the news.