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Egypt's Morsi withdraws all legal complaints against journalists

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has dropped complaints against journalists he accused of defamation

Ahram Online, Wednesday 10 Apr 2013
Egypt's Mohamed Morsi (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 4388

President Mohamed Morsi has ordered the withdrawal of all legal complaints lodged against Egyptian journalists, presidential spokesman Ihab Fahmy announced Wednesday.

Fahmy said at a press conference on Wednesday evening that the president's decision comes out of "respect for freedom of expression." 

The presidential office had denied in recent weeks filing legal complaints against any journalist.

In January, a report by the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has shown that “insulting the president” lawsuits filed during the reign of President Mohamed Morsi exceeds those filed under all Egyptian rulers since 1892.

In December 2012, the president's office accused psychiatrist Manal Omar and TV host Mahmoud Saad of insulting the president on the latter's programme Akhir Al-Nahar. Journalist Ola El-Shafei, Youm7 editor-in-chief Khaled Salah, and Constitution Party co-founder Hossam Eissa, have all faced same charges late in 2012.

Meanwhile, lawyers supportive of President Morsi have also filed complaints against several Egyptian journalists and media figures, including popular Egyptian satirist Basssem Youssef, accusing them of defaming the president.

Youssef was questioned by the country's prosecutor-general on charges of insulting Morsi and Islam in March and was released on bail.

Islam Afifi, former editor-in-chief of Al-Dostour newspaper, is also currently on trial for insulting Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian.

The complaints against journalists critical of the president have raised concerns among critics for press freedom in Egypt.

Some critics say such complaints aim to intimidate media figures opposed to Islamist rule.

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