Egypt’s prosecutor-general summoned high-profile journalist and TV personality Ibrahim Eissa for questioning on Sunday for “insulting parliament” after the country's legislative body filed a complaint against him.
In February, parliament lodged a first-of-its-kind complaint against Eissa, who is the editor-in-chief of Al-Maqal newspaper and who is known for being highly critical of the government.
The move came after MP and journalist Mostafa Bakri accused Eissa, who was also a strong opponent of Egypt's ousted ruler Hosni Mubarak, of directing insults at parliament.
Al-Maqal published an article on Tuesday with a satirical title stating that the Oscars should give the Egyptian parliament an award for “best cartoon.”
In response, parliament speaker Abdel-Aal said he agrees with Bakri call for investigation, insisting that Eissa has become fond of constantly directing insults at parliament.
“I decided that all the insults in Eissa's article on Al-Maqal newspaper be referred to the prosecutor-general for investigation,” the speaker said, adding that “the insults in Eissa's article are a crime and represent a deviation from press freedoms.”
However, Abdel-Aal refused another request by Bakri that parliament file a complaint against Ahmed El-Sayed El-Naggar, the board chairman of Al-Ahram Press Organisation, over an article published on Al-Ahram Arabic website pointing out the linguistic mistakes made by the parliament speaker in his speeches.
Eissa’s talk show on the privately-owned El-Kahera Wel Nas channel was cancelled in early January, though it is not clear if he resigned or if the show was suspended.
Prior to his election in May 2014, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi appeared on a show with Eissa and TV presenter Lamees El-Hadidi in his first-ever television interview.
Eissa has held a number of editorial positions, including editor-in-chief of El-Tahrir newspaper, from which he resigned in 2015. He also hosted a number of TV shows after Egypt’s 2011 January revolution and has published a number of books.