UK media are reporting that Egyptian prosecutors have charged 20 al-Jazeera journalists with belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, fabricating news reports and tarnishing Egypt’s reputation abroad. According to a report in the The Guardian:
January 29, 2014 Egyptian prosecutors say they have charged 20 al-Jazeera journalists, including two British citizens, with belonging to Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, fabricating news reports and tarnishing Egypt’s reputation abroad.
The journalists include the Australian ex-BBC correspondent Peter Greste and Canadian-Egyptian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy, who has worked for the New York Times.
‘Investigations showed the defendants created a media network headed by an Egyptian-Canadian Muslim Brotherhood member [Fahmy] that has specialised in creating video scenes contrary to reality and aired them through Qatari al-Jazeera English to distort Egypt’s international reputation,’ the prosecution alleged.
Other charges included ‘disturbing public peace, instilling terror, harming the general interests of the country, possessing broadcast equipment without permit, possessing and disseminating images contrary to the truth’.
The identities of most of the 20 defendants were not revealed by prosecutors. It is thought that some of them could be tried in absentia, and lawyers were unclear about whether the defendants included members of al-Jazeera’s Arabic channel who were arrested in August, or just the al-Jazeera English journalists seized several months later.
Read the rest here.
The GMBDW reported in January that Egypt had summoned the Qatari Ambassador to the Egyptian foreign ministry in order to object to Qatari criticism of the crackdown on the Brotherhood as well as to Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera’s coverage of events. We also noted at that time that the Washington Post had featured a story which looked at criticism in Egypt of Al Jazeera over its relationship to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The GMBDW reported in September 2013 on the ongoing conflicts regarding Al-Jazeera’s coverage of events in Egypt. In July 2012, the GMBDW had reported on the resignation of the 22 members of the Al-Jazeera Egyptian bureau in protest over what they say were instructions from the management to “favor the Muslim Brotherhood.” In 2009, Egyptian authorities were reported to be in the process of revoking Al-Jazeera’s license to broadcast and that the network was planning to close its bureau office in Cairo.
Leaked US State Department cables indicate that Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar and funded by the Qatari government, operates as an arm of Qatari foreign policy which has recently been strongly supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and the recently deposed Mohamed Morsi. Our predecessor publication extensively covered the role of Qatar as a supporter of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and was the first to report on the strong ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas of Wadah Khanfar, the former Director-General of Al-Jazeera who resigned in 2011 after serving for eight years.
In 2009, the Jerusalem Post ran an article that explored the role of the Muslim Brotherhood at Al Jazeera