Egypt's Brotherhood denies protesting against journalists, beating critics

Ahram Online, Thursday 9 Aug 2012

Demonstrators stop guests, TV presenters from entering Egypt's Media City; Brotherhood denies claims it instigated the incident

Egyptian Media Production City logo (Photo: AP)

Hundreds of demonstrators on Wednesday night protested outside of Egypt's Media Production City (located in 6 October City on the capital's outskirts), preventing guests from entering the studios of the satellite television stations based inside the complex.

According to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website, fights broke out between protestors and some television presenters, the latter of whom included Khaled Salah, editor-in-chief of daily newspaper Youm Al-Sabaa, who was attacked and whose car was damaged by angry demonstrators.

Salah later reportedly filed a police report against Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which he accused of inciting the incident.

Protesters refused to disperse, despite attempts by Giza Governorate security officials to convince them to leave and allow guests to enter the building.

Protesters refused to leave until two programmes presented by Tawfik Okasha and Lamis El-Hadidi – Okasha's show airs on the Faraeen channel (which officially stopped broadcasting on Thursday afternoon) and El-Hadidi's on CBC – were taken off the air.

Protesters asserted that both programmes were actively spreading false rumours about Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

The programmes' producers were forced to bring guests in through a back door to protect them from protesters.

Muslim Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein, for his part, denied the group's involvement in Wednesday's protests, despite claims to the contrary by some at the scene.

Hussein told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website on Wednesday night that the group did not ask its members or supporters to stage demonstrations – in any form – outside the Media Production City. He went on to say that disagreements between the Brotherhood and certain quarters of the media were "civilised disagreements" that did not call for protests or confrontations.

"We welcome the news that some journalists have filed reports about the incident," Hussein said, stressing that subsequent investigations would reveal who was responsible. He added that the Brotherhood would never be involved in such acts, saying, "We were surprised to hear we were even accused of involvement."

Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan, for his part, said the group would not tolerate any of its members assaulting Egyptian citizens, stressing that the Brotherhood's ethical principles prevented its members from physically attacking their opponents, let alone fellow Egyptians.

Ghozlan asserted that Brotherhood members could not perform such acts unilaterally without first taking permission from the group's leadership. He went on to call for investigations into the incident to discover who was responsible.

Ghozlan concluded by accusing the media of "fabricating crises" and promoting unsubstantiated rumours.

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