Mada Masr: The public prosecution has accused three journalists working for the Qatar-based satellite channel Al Jazeera English of producing fabricated news with the intent of harming Egypt’s image abroad, reported on Thursday the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA).
The journalists were arrested last month after the National Security Apparatus accused them of using two hotel rooms to hold meetings with Muslim Brotherhood members and “broadcast news that harms national security as well as spread false information for Al Jazeera without the approval of relevant authorities,” according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior in late December.
The defendants include Mohamed Fahmy, Al Jazeera’s English-language bureau chief, correspondent Peter Greste and producer Baher Mohamed. Fahmy is of Egyptian origin but holds a Canadian passport, while Greste is Australian. Mohamed is an Egyptian.
The prosecution accused the defendants of fabricating news stories that Egypt was going through a civil war to serve the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood group, which was recently designated a banned, terrorist organization in Egypt; as well as inciting the international community against the nation.
The journalists have been charged with possession of wireless communication devices and broadcasting equipment without the required authorization, spreading false news to threaten public security and possession of fake footage they intended to use to harm Egypt’s image and reputation, according to the statement.
The prosecution dismissed allegations that the journalists’ arrest was a violation of freedom of the press, and asserted that the laws regulating media were carefully taken into consideration in the case.
The “prosecution is not concerned with conflicts among different political fractions,” the statement added. [Continue reading…]
Al Jazeera has denied that its journalists detained in Egypt since December 29, 2013, have confessed to the charges levelled against them.
Egypt’s prosecutor’s office said on Thursday that some of the journalists – producers Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed, and correspondent Peter Greste – confessed to being members of the Muslim Brotherhood, without specifying who.
Muslim Brotherhood was designated as a terrorist organisation by Egypt’s military-led interim government after its leader Mohamed Morsi was deposed on July 3 in a coup.