Journalists summouned for insulting President Morsi

Ahram Online, Sunday 23 Dec 2012

Journalists will be questioned after publishing an article deemed offensive to President Morsi

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef (Photo: Bassem Youssef's official Facebook page)

The Cairo Appeals Court has summoned journalists Ola El-Shafie and Khaled Salah for questioning after the presidency filed a complaint accusing them of insulting the president.

El-Shafie is being called in regarding an article published in the privately owned Youm El-Sabae newspaper 8 December. In the article, El-Shafie talked about the clashes that erupted after President Morsi’s controversial 22 November constitutional decree, referring to several of those who were attacked and injured during the ensuing violence.

“All those and many others who were injured, terrorised and attacked and beaten in the streets are more honourable and pure then these repulsive faces that we see repeat like parrots talk about legitimacy,” wrote El-Shafie.

President Morsi frequently underlined the importance of "democratic legitimacy" in speeches given before and after the clashes at the palace.

El-Shafie also criticised Morsi by saying, “A president does not kill, does not destroy a dream and does not send his group’s militias into the streets and squares of Egypt.”

El-Shafie told the Ahram Arabic news website that the presidency responded with record speed, filing a complaint only one day after the article was published.

“This is the fastest complaint filed in a libel suit,” she said.

El-Shafie accused the president of trying gag the media.

“This is an attempt to repress the media and terrorise journalists, especially since now we have a constitution that allows the imprisonment of journalists,” she said.

Salah has been summoned because he is the editor-in-chief of Youm El-Sabae.

Earlier this year, Beshoy Kamel, a Coptic Christian schoolteacher, was sentenced to six years in prison for posting cartoons on Facebook deemed defamatory to Islam and the Prophet Mohamed, and for insulting President Mohamed Morsi and his family.

Several similar lawsuits have been filed against TV satirist Bassem Youssef, psychiatrist Manal Omar, journalist Abdel Haleem Qandil and TV host Mahmoud Ssaad.

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