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Egypt prosecutor: monitor media and other 'forces of evil'

Date of publication: 28 February, 2018

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The chief prosecutor's attack on the media follows a recent BBC report about the Egyptian government's widespread crackdown since 2013.

Egypt's chief prosecutor on Wednesday reminded his staff to continue monitoring online media and take legal action against "forces of evil", according to a public statement.

The statement comes a day after Egyptian authorities called on officials and the "elite" to boycott the BBC following a report on the regime's crackdown on dissidents, which has included the widespread use of torture and forced disappearances over the past five years.

Entitled "The Shadow Over Egypt", the BBC programme profiled Egyptians jailed since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi overthrew the country's first democratically-elected government in 2013.

It was released just weeks before Sisi's virtually unopposed re-election bid for the Egyptian presidency. Potential challengers have been arrested or sidelined as voting between 26-28 March fast approaches.

Following the BBC's report on 23 February, the State Information Service - which accredits foreign media in Egypt - urged people to refuse interviews with the British broadcaster until a formal apology was issued.

The accreditation body also wants the broadcaster to issue a statement saying the report contained inaccuracies.

According to Reuters, a BBC spokesperson said: "We are aware of the reports about this BBC story on Egyptian TV and of the comments of the head of the State Information Service. We stand by the integrity of our reporting teams."

Earlier this week, the BBC told The New Arab in an emailed statement that it gave the "State Information Service and a number of other Egyptian government departments ample opportunity to respond to the allegations but they chose not to".

The BBC report has dominated headlines in Egypt over recent days, with pro-government commentators saying it defamed Egypt and inspired Muslim Brotherhood propaganda.

Since 2013, Egyptian authorities have sentenced hundreds to death and arrested tens of thousands following the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi.

Sisi has overseen the crackdown. Though Islamists have been largely targeted in the sweep, secularists and pro-democracy activists have also been jailed.

Sisi has dismissed widespread criticism from rights groups, arguing that Western standards of human rights do not apply in Egypt.

 

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