‘Brutal marketing campaign’, says press group as Egypt arrests journalist

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Egyptian officers have arrested a journalist at a serious newspaper on “terrorism” costs, his lawyer mentioned, a move a worldwide press advocacy group known as a “brutal campaign” towards journalists within the nation.

Security officers burst into the home of Haisam Hasan Mahgoub within the capital of Cairo earlier this week, confiscating his telephone and arresting him, lawyer Karim Abdelrady mentioned.

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Mahgoub, a daily correspondent on the unbiased Egyptian every day, Al-Masry Al-Youm, was questioned by prosecutors on Wednesday and detained on costs of becoming a member of and financing a “terrorist group” in addition to spreading “fake news” that threatens nationwide safety, Abdelrady mentioned.

The prosecutors didn’t specify what constituted “fake news”.

Another journalist, freelance photographer Moataz Abdel Wahab, faces costs in the identical case, Abdelrady added.

Egyptian officers have more and more deployed the imprecise accusation of “fake news” to silence and jail critics within the authorities’s sweeping and sometimes indiscriminate crackdown on dissent.

Among dozens of media employees imprisoned in Egypt is Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Hussein, a Doha-based journalist who was arrested in 2016 throughout a go to to his household in Cairo.

He has been detained with out cost for greater than 1,200 days, and there are considerations for his well being throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Brutal marketing campaign to silence journalists’

In an announcement emailed to Al Jazeera, the International Press Institute (IPI) criticised Egypt for Mahgoub’s arrest, describing it as a part of a “brutal campaign of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to silence critical journalists”.

“The Egyptian government continues to brazenly violate press freedom by arresting journalists, raiding media outlets and blocking news websites to stifle criticism, while the international community has turned a blind eye to the harassment of journalists in the country,” IPI director of advocacy Ravi R Prasad mentioned.

“The international community should hold Egypt’s authoritarian regime accountable for the violation of human rights.”

The IPI mentioned Egypt has waged an “aggressive campaign” towards the unbiased media, with greater than 60 journalists behind bars within the nation.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based watchdog, linked Mahgoub’s arrest to a clampdown that has accelerated within the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, noting that he had lately coated human curiosity tales in regards to the well being disaster.

“While some governments worldwide pardon prisoners during the time of COVID-19, Egypt is determined to keep its prisons full of journalists instead of letting them cover the pandemic and other news events freely,” mentioned Sherif Mansour, the group’s Middle East and North Africa coordinator.

Egypt’s inside ministry didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Since coming to energy in 2013, el-Sisi has sought to quash opposition, branding his critics as “terrorists” and forcing information shops to comply with the official line or disappear.

Last week, el-Sisi accredited amendments to the nation’s emergency legislation, citing the coronavirus, with officers claiming the brand new measures have been wanted to handle the authorized “vacuum” attributable to the outbreak.

The authorities is utilizing the COVID-19 emergency to additional tighten its grip, rights teams say.

In March, Egypt expelled a correspondent for the United Kingdom newspaper The Guardian over an article that indicated the coronavirus an infection charge is perhaps increased than formally reported.

Over a dozen individuals have been detained or slapped with steep fines over social media posts or reporting in regards to the outbreak, in line with Amnesty International.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information companies