World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Egypt: Journalists face terror charges

29 January 2014

Grave risk to media freedom in Egypt as journalists face ‘terror charges’

The Egyptian authorities must immediately drop the charges against three journalists from Al Jazeera English who were referred to trial today for allegedly providing assistance or belonging to a banned group engaged in terrorist activities, said Amnesty International.

“Today’s decision by Egypt’s chief prosecutor to refer a number of journalists to trial on alleged terrorism related charges is a major setback for media freedom in Egypt,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“The move sends the chilling message that only one narrative is acceptable in Egypt today - that which is sanctioned by the Egyptian authorities.”

The three journalists -- Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed -- have been detained since 29 December 2013. Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to free expression and is calling for them to be immediately and unconditionally released.

If convicted, the journalists could face between three years to life in prison.

“Journalists cannot operate freely in a climate of fear. The latest development is a brazen attempt to stifle independent reporting in Egypt. In the lead up to elections, a free press ie essential,” said Salil Shetty.

A further 17 Al Jazeera staff members were also referred to trial today accused of belonging to a terrorist group and spreading false news about the political situation in Egypt. Five of them are currently being held in detention, according to the public prosecutor. It is feared they were arrested in connection with their journalistic work.

Amnesty International fears that the charges may be an attempt to punish the journalists for Al Jazeera’s editorial line. The channel has been accused of being biased towards the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Any charges that stem from the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression must be dropped.

In a separate case, the Egyptian authorities had arrested Mohamed Badr, an Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr cameraman, and Abdallah El Shamy, an Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent, in July 2013. Both men remain in detention for covering violations by the Egyptian authorities.

Egypt has witnessed an alarming escalation in attacks on press freedom since Mohamed Morsi was deposed in July 2013 with a number of journalists facing arrest for reporting on human rights violations carried out by the security forces.

Amnesty International urges the Egyptian authorities to respect freedom of expression and allow journalists to carry out independent reporting into all issues, including criticizing the government, without the threat of intimidation or arrest.

AI Index: PRE01/054/2014

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news