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MIDEAST > Media watchdog condemns Egypt crackdown on TV stations

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An egyptian man holds ousted president Mohammed Morsi portrait as Muslim brotherhood members and ousted egyptian president Mohammed Morsi supporters shout religious and political slogans as thousands rally in his support at Raba Al Adaawyia mosque on July 4, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt. AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD KHALED

An egyptian man holds ousted president Mohammed Morsi portrait as Muslim brotherhood members and ousted egyptian president Mohammed Morsi supporters shout religious and political slogans as thousands rally in his support at Raba Al Adaawyia mosque on July 4, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt. AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD KHALED

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), a global union federation of journalists’ trade unions, has condemned the closure of media stations in Egypt and demanded the immediate release of any media staff who are being detained.

Egypt’s military rulers shut down several stations, including one operated by the Muslim Brotherhood, after President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the army. According to Qatar-based Al Jazeera, Egyptian military forces raided the Cairo offices of its Egyptian station, Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr, on Wednesday night, disrupting its live broadcast.

It has also been reported by state news agency MENA that Misr25, the Muslim Brotherhood’s television station, was taken off the air hours after President Morsi was ousted by the military. The state-run Al-Ahram and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said two other pro-Morsi channels, the Salafi-affiliated Al-Hafiz and Al-Nas, also went off the air at that time. Al-Ahram said police entered the Media Production City offices of all three stations.

“We are deeply concerned by these reports,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “Media offices should not be subject to raids and cannot be closed by authorities based on their own political agenda. We call for any journalists who have been detained following the raids to be released with immediate effect. They have committed no crime and should not be detained for informing the public. Regardless of political views, the right to freedom of expression in Egypt must be respected and upheld. We urge the Egyptian military not to deprive Egyptians of information sources during this important period.”

July/05/2013

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