Qatar-based network Al Jazeera announced on Thursday that it has launched a legal battle against the Egyptian authorities
Al-Jazeera has launched legal action against the Egyptian authorities, saying that its journalists have been detained without charge and attacked, its London-based lawyers announced Thursday.
The network said it had asked renowned legal firm Carter-Ruck, a specialist in international law, to take action in the international courts and before the United Nations over accusations of harassment.
Since President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown on July 3, Al-Jazeera says that “a large number” of its journalists have been arrested and detained by the security services “either without charge or on spurious and politically motivated charges”.
The network said earlier this month that its satellite signals had been blocked in the wake of its critical coverage of Cairo’s crackdown on Islamists.
“Independent experts” were used by Al-Jazeera to determine where the jamming was coming from, the network said on its website.
It said that trackers identified locations east and west of Cairo, and specifically identified military installations as the source of interference.
“Al-Jazeera cannot permit this situation to continue,” said a network spokesman in a statement released by its legal team.
“The right of journalists to report freely in situations of this kind is protected by international law and is reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 1738.
“Al-Jazeera has instructed its lawyers to take all steps necessary worldwide to ensure that its journalists can operate freely in the country, without fear of arbitrary arrest, jamming or other forms of harassment and intimidation,” he added.
The network said that authorities were trying to silence dissenting voices so that “only the voices of its state-controlled media” could be heard.
DCMF’s open letter to Egyptian authorities
Doha Centre for Media Freedom has written an open letter to the Egyptian authorities expressing concern over the arrest of a prominent investigative journalist Ahmed Abu Deraa who was detained since September 4.
The document has also been sent directly to the offices of the Egyptian Minister of Information, Doria Sharah Al-Din and the Minister of Defence and Military Production, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
In the letter, the centre “demands the immediate and unconditional release of Ahmed Abu Deraa” stating that “journalists should be allowed to work freely without fearing persecution.”
“Arresting journalists without charge is unacceptable at any time, especially during times of political instability and uncertainty, when members of the media must be allowed to carry out their work free from facing detention by the authorities.”
DCMF has also expressed serious apprehension about the intent to try the journalist in a military court, referring to previous issues associated with such procedures.
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