Al Jazeera staff during a solidarity gathering yesterday for their colleagues detained in Egypt. They also called for the immediate release of Al Jazeera correspondent Abdullah Al Shami, who is detained since August, and cameraman Mubasher Misr Mohammad Badr, who is detained since July. The gathering in front of Al Jazeera Arabic studios included speeches by the network’s top management and family members of the detained staff.
Doha: Al Jazeera has launched legal action against the Egyptian government over harassment and detainment of its journalists, the network’s London-based lawyers announced yesterday.
The network said it had asked prominent legal firm Carter-Ruck to take action in international courts and before the United Nations in a move that aims to protect its journalists and ‘safeguard its right to report freely’ on events in Egypt.
Al Jazeera said since president Mohammed Mursi was overthrown, a large number of its journalists have been arrested and detained by security forces either without charge or on false and politically motivated charges.
It also accused the forces of attacking its journalists and said that some of its offices have been closed.
“Al Jazeera offices and journalists have come under attack by the military, police and unofficial groups supporting the military government, while the network has been subjected to a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation involving the jamming of transmissions and broadcasts, as well as the closure of its offices and other facilities,” the network said in a press release issued by its legal team.
The network earlier said its satellite signals were blocked in the wake of its coverage of Cairo’s crackdown on Islamists. “Al Jazeera cannot permit this situation to continue,” a network spokesman said in a statement.
The military-backed regime in Egypt has disregarded the fundamental right of journalists to report freely and seems determined to silence all independent voices, leaving only the voices of its own state-controlled media which could be heard, the network said.
Al Jazeera staff, meanwhile, organised a solidarity gathering for their colleagues detained in Egypt and called for the immediate release of Al Jazeera correspondent Abdullah Al Shami (detained since August 2013), and cameraman for Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Mohammad Badr (detained since July).
The gathering in front of Al Jazeera Arabic studios included speeches and addresses by the network’s top management and family members of the detained staff.
Dr Mostefa Souag, Managing Director of Al Jazeera Arabic Channel, said: “Al Jazeera has been here to deliver the truth, and it is time for those people in power to realise that the threatening pressure on journalists and the ensuing lack of media freedom need to stop — the truth will always prevail.”
He also expressed gratitude for the brave work of Al Jazeera reporters and journalists.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Ghassan Abu Hussein, Manager of Al Jazeera’s Communications and International Relations Department, who addressed the general public and the detained journalists in particular, saying: “Al Jazeera is with you and has been with you since Day 1. This is the message we deliver to the world today.” Ayman Gaballah, Director of Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, and a former detainee in Egypt, said: “Those who attempt to imprison the truth, only imprison themselves.” The Peninsula