Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism

Egypt press activist jailed

27 July 2015
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, pictured in 2014. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The founder of an independent journalists network in Egypt was arrested by police and accused of working for the outlawed group, the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Daily News Egypt.

Aboubakr Khallaf, founder of the independent Electronic Media Syndicate, which provided training and support for journalists working for digital outlets, was arrested July 21. The move came days after government-owned newspaper Akhbar Elyoum published a news article accusing Khallaf and EMS of receiving money from the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Khallaf was also accused of “taking pictures and displaying artistic works without a license,” which violates a 1998 executive order that makes it illegal to do audio or audiovisual work without a license from the government. The accusation refers to Khallaf photographing the funeral of Egypt’s former prosecutor general, Hisham Barakat, who was assassinated in late June.

Khallaf denied the accusations on his Facebook page July 25, and two local press freedom groups, Journalists Against Torture and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, have called for his release. Khallaf previously worked as journalist at al-Jazeera, which has had a tense relationship with the Egyptian government since a 2013 coup brought President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to power.

His detention follows the arrest of Yahya Khalaf, the director of Yaqeen news network. Khalaf was arrested as authorities raided her network’s offices after the government-aligned news website Al-Watan accused Yaqeen of employing members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Khallaf remains in prison, and on July 20 Yaqeen announced it was shutting down.

Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism.
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