The Egyptian government forcefully closed and firebombed the Cairo office of Al-Jazeera. The Arab news channel has retaliated legally by hiring a high profile London law firm to take action against the Egyptian Government, according to The Guardian. Carter-Ruck will take legal action as the Qatar based broadcaster notes that its Cairo offices were forcefully closed, some of its journalists were deported, and its satellites-used to reach Egyptian viewers, were jammed.
Earlier in the month an Egyptian court ordered Al-Jazeera’s local affiliate to stop broadcasting. Three other channels were also shut down, as they were covering the Muslim Brotherhood protests and were accused of operating illegally.
The Cairo offices have been closed since July 3rd after a security raid that happened only a few hours after the oust of Mohamed Morsi. Three freelance journalists working for the network were removed from the country after the channel broadcasted “appeals from leaders of ousted-president Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood to stage protests against the army backed government.”
A spokesman for the channel commented today that, “Al-Jazeera cannot permit this situation to continue.” The spokesman added that the new regime in Egypt completely disregards the “fundamental right” of journalists to report freely on the situation that engulfs the entire country. He feels that this right of journalists to portray the truth is protected by international law and is sacred. “Egypt 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.”
International law expert Cameron Daly, of Carter-Ruck commented, “we will also be looking at the diplomatic options. We will be seeking direct lobbying from the US. Freedom of the press is long established in international law.” Al-Jazeera finally commented that its journalists are under attack in Egypt, and that the network “has been subjected to a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation involving the jamming of transmissions.”