Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Egypt uses new law to crack down on independent satellite TV company

The Egyptian government is using a recent law adopted by the majority of Arab League states to prosecute the owner of a satellite TV company for his role in broadcasting violent anti-government protests, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Charges of broadcasting without permission have been brought against Nader Gohar, owner of Cairo News Co. According to the article, Cairo News, “provides links and equipment to Al Jazeera, BBC, and other international networks.” Authorities raided Gohar’s office in April after Al Jazeera broadcast images of Egyptian riot police battling with striking textile workers in Mahalla.

Gohar will likely be tired later this month. The article adds: “His company has been shut down and he faces fines and up to one year in prison if convicted.”

Egypt and Saudi Arabia sponsored the Arab League law in question, which pressures channels from producing broadcasts that “negatively affect social peace, national unity, public order and public morals,” or “defame leaders, or national and religious symbols [of other Arab states].”

With the implementation of this new law, human rights and press freedom advocates worry Arab governments will have a free hand to silence public opposition. Human Rights Watch has called the charges against Gohar part of a drive by President Mubarak's government to “stifle freedom of the press.”

For the full article, click here.


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