Egyptian court annuls media gag order on 2012 election fraud case

Ahram Online , Tuesday 19 Jan 2016

Shafiq and Morsi
Ex-presidential contender Ahmed Shafiq (L) and ousted President Mohamed Morsi (R) (Photo: Ahram)

The Egyptian Administrative Court annulled on Tuesday a former media gag order imposed on a case referred to in the Egyptian media as the “the 2012 presidential elections fraud case.”

In its reasoning, the court said that all information and data related to the public is considered a method of forming public opinion, therefore citizens and media outlets have the right to broadcast and discuss reliable sources of information they acquire, so that every citizen will be able to articulate his opinion on public matters.

The court explained that: "The prosecutor-general is not allowed to usurp the power of the investigating judge by imposing a media gag on a certain case if he is the one who is undergoing investigations in the case."

"Every obstruction of the right of citizens and media outlets to reach correct information and truthful news without a legal basis or justification established for the public's interest is against the constitution, and squanders the rights given to citizens and media," the court added.

In October 2014, the former prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat imposed a media gag on investigations conducted by the prosecution following an appeal by failed presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq's lawyer Shawki El-Sayed against the results of the 2012 presidential elections.

The media gag was imposed by the prosecutor-general after Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm said it would publish documents about the case.

Mohamed Morsi won the 2012 elections following a tense run-off with Shafiq. Many voters, though with some reluctance, voted for him as the lesser of two evils compared with Shafiq, a familiar face from ex-president Hosni Mubarak’s toppled regime.

El-Sayed claimed that the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group committed electoral fraud during the elections which resulted in Morsi's victory.

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