Friday, 6 September 2013

Egypt: Media closures

The authorities have moved against the television channels it deems to be supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. A court in Cairo ordered the closure of four television stations, including the Brotherhood's Ahrar 25 TV, Al-Jazeera's Egyptian affiliate Mubasher Misr, Al-Quds, and Al-Yarmouk saying they were operating illegally.
Three journalists from Al-Jazeera English were deported.
From the outset of the revolt by young Arabs against their rulers in 2011, Al-Jazeera has provided the most comprehensive coverage of this widespread popular movement. Their Qatari owners firmly took the side of the street, to the dismay of ruling families and entrenched regimes across the region. They further have supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in the Gaza strip - and that support has now cost them access in Cairo.
The first step towards the proscribing of the Brotherhood as an organisation came when the State Commissioners Authority, a body that advises the government on legal issues, recommended its dissolution. It also called for the group's national headquarters in Moqattam to be closed. The recommendations were made in accordance with Law 84 of 2002, which prohibits non-government organisations and institutions from forming paramilitary groups. This particular charge came after an attack on the party's headquarters -which the interior ministry had warned it would not protect - and the actions of pro-Morsi supporters to protect themselves.
The State Commissioners Authority can only advise the government but it is likely that a similar measure will be invoked to ban the Brotherhood.
For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.
© 2013 Menas Associates

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