Confiscation of Egyptian newspaper raises fears over freedom of the press

News article, posted 08.12.2012, from Egypt, in:
Confiscation of Egyptian newspaper raises fears over freedom of the press (Photo: Al Ahram)

New issues of privately-owned daily Al-Dostour were confiscated from the paper's offices following a decision by the head of Giza primary court on Saturday.

A number of complaints have been filed against the newspaper's chairman Reda Edward and editor-in-chief Islam Afifi, accusing the newspaper of insulting president Mohamed Morsi and inciting sectarian strife in Egypt in the case of the village of Dahshour this month.

Hassan Badie managing editor of Al-Dostour accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being behind the charges and the decision to raid the offices.

"The Muslim Brotherhood's youth have been demonstrating frequently outside the newspaper headquarters," Badie told state-run MENA, describing their alleged actions as a threatening message.

Al-Dostour newspaper is known for its anti-Brotherhood coverage. In one particularly provocative headline, on the 21 June front page, the newspaper declared "The massacre of the century...In Egypt!" The article went on to accuse the top leadership of the Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice party of cooking up a massacre in Egypt if their candidate Mohamed Morsi failed to win the presidential race in run-offs against Mubarak-era minister Ahmed Shafiq.

The managing editor urged the Press Syndicate to stand by Al-Dostour in the face of the "this fierce campaign against freedom of the press and expression."

A statement published on Al-Dostour's website accused security forces of raiding Al-Gomhouriyya Print House, where the newspaper gets printed. The statement goes on to say that while officers demanded that the print moulds be handed over, officials at the print house refused as they had no permit.

Although many revolutionaries and activists are deeply critical of the editorial policies of Al-Dostour, they are also critical of the judicial moves being taken against the paper.

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