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Egypt court orders ban on local al-Jazeera channel for broadcasting 'lies'

The channel has been ordered to close due to its reporting on last year's coup that is said to have damaged Egyptian national security
Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr has been accused of supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood (AFP)

An administrative court in Egypt on Wednesday ordered a state-run satellite company to stop broadcasting the local al-Jazeera television channel.

Egypt’s state run news agency reported that the court ordered NileSat to stop airing al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr because it had broadcast “lies” about last year’s popularly backed military coup that unseated the country’s first freely elected president Mohammed Morsi.

NileSat responded to the statement by saying the ruling does not apply to them, as the al-Jazeera channel is broadcast through a French satellite in Egypt. The channel has run from Qatar since last year when another court ruled it be shut down for harming Egyptian national security.

The court said al-Jazeera had “blatantly deviated from neutrality” and “betrayed the media code of honour” in its reporting of a “revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood on 30 June 2013”.

They accused the channel of “claiming that it [the coup] was set and directed by filmmakers, that the crowds that took to the streets on the day were but a few people who do not represent the whole population and that it was a military coup and not a popular revolution.”

The channel, the court said, had sought to “drive a wedge between the people and the army” in order to “tarnish the image of the great Egyptian army and encourage mercenaries in Sinai to attack army and police personnel.”

More than 1,000 supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi were killed last August when security forces attacked protest camps at the Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares. Since then Egyptian authorities have cracked down hard on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, labelling it a terrorist organisation and locking up more than 41,000 people for politically motivated reasons, according to monitoring group Wikithawra.

In June an Egyptian court convicted 18 al-Jazeera staff for broadcasting “false news” and supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. 11 were sentenced to 10 years in absentia and seven others, including Australian Peter Greste, were given prison terms of seven years on charges of incitement against Egypt. 

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