Al Jazeera Media Network has called in lawyers to take action over the Egyptian Government’s campaign against its journalists working in the country.
During the weeks since the overthrow of the Morsi Government by the Egyptian military, a large number of journalists working for Al Jazeera have been arrested and detained by the security services, either without charge or on spurious and politically motivated charges. Al Jazeera offices and journalists have come under attack by the military, the police and unofficial groups supporting the military government, while the network itself has been subjected to a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation involving the jamming of transmissions and broadcasts, as well as the closure of offices and other facilities.
The behaviour of the Egyptian security services and their supporters towards Al Jazeera, and all journalists who are not linked to the military regime, has given rise to a great deal of concern internationally.
Al Jazeera has now instructed London-based lawyers Carter-Ruck to take action in the international courts and before the United Nations and other relevant bodies to protect its journalists and to safeguard its right to report freely on events and developments in Egypt.
Speaking today, an Al Jazeera spokesman said:
“Al Jazeera cannot permit this situation to continue. 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 (2006). However, the new regime in Egypt has disregarded this fundamental right and seems determined to silence all independent journalism and reporting in the country, leaving only the voices of its own state-controlled media to be heard. 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, assault, jamming or other forms of harassment and intimidation. In the meantime, we call upon the United Nations and all of its Member States to act to ensure that freedom of expression and freedom of the press do not die in Egypt”.