Egyptian prosecutors summon reporters over election coverage
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s state security prosecutors have summoned nine journalists for questioning over their coverage of last month’s presidential election, a senior official of the country’s press syndicate said Friday.
The summons is for the recently-dismissed chief editor of the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily and eight other reporters, according to Hatem Zakaria.
The nine are expected to show up for questioning next Thursday, said Zakaria, the syndicate’s secretary-general.
Al-Masry Al-Youm was fined 150,000 Egyptian pounds, or about $8,500, and its chief editor, Mohammed el-Sayyed Saleh, was dismissed after a report saying the state rallied voters to participate in the presidential election by using rewards.
One of the daily’s sub-headlines had read: “Officials promising financial bonus, gifts in front of the polls.”
Saleh was also referred for questioning.
Pro-government media and the state’s regulatory bodies have largely criticized independent and foreign media’s coverage of the election.
In the March balloting, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was re-elected for a second term, getting 97 percent of the vote in a virtually one-man race, with only one obscure politician running after all serious challengers were arrested or pressured to withdraw from the race.
About a month before the election, authorities expelled British journalist Bel Trew after arresting her and threatening her with a military trial.
Reporters Without Borders has ranked Egypt as 161 out of 180 countries on their 2017 World Press Freedom Index.
This story has been corrected to show that while holding the title of secretary-general, Zakaria is not the top official of the press syndicate.