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Cairo Cracks Down on Al Jazeera Channel

Offices of the network have been shut down, its reporter was arrested and its license may be revoked.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/19/2013, 9:04 AM

Watching the news in Cairo
Watching the news in Cairo
Reuters

The military interim government in Cairo is cracking down on a key adversary – satellite news network Al Jazeera, which is widely seen as being biased in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The Cabinet has assigned competent authorities to assess the legal status of the Al Jazeera satellite channel, accusing it of threatening stability and national security,” local media said, according to a report on the Egypt Independent Sunday.

The New York Times noted Sunday that while the military interim government had already shut down all of the Egyptian television networks that supported President Mohamed Morsi on the night of Morsi's ouster – in the last four days, “the new authorities have raided and shut down the offices of the pan-Arab Al Jazeera network, taken steps to deny its Egyptian license and, on Sunday, arrested its correspondent Abdullah El-Shamy on charges of inciting murder and sectarian violence.”

Al Jazeera, is based in Qatar and is the only big Arabic-language network that is considered biased in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is widely seen as a key agitator in the rebellions that have spread throughout the Arab world in the last two years.

Egypt's Interim Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, criticized on Sunday the way foreign media was reporting events in Egypt and urged journalists to “work without interference from governments.” He accused the international community of being silent regarding what he described as “criminal acts” committed by pro-Morsi protesters.

According to Egypt's Daily News, Fahmy said that Egypt’s decisions are a “sovereign matter,” and Egyptians “are endeavouring to find their “political identity.”