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The New Arab

Egypt journalist summoned to court for speaking to banned Al Jazeera

Last year, Egypt banned Al Jazeera for allegedly "supporting terrorism" [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 May, 2018

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An Egyptian journalist has been summoned to court, accused of spreading 'fake news' and insulting the country's leader after she spoke to Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera.

An Egyptian journalist has been summoned to court for allegedly spreading "fake news" and insulting the country's leader after she spoke to Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera.

Azza al-Hennawy was referred to an urgent disciplinary court on Tuesday, pro-government Youm7 reported, amid a crackdown on opposition activists.

"The head of the National Media Authority has filed a case against the accused for making a 36-minute phone call with Al Jazeera Mubasher, which is known for its hostility towards Egypt," the report said.

It added that Hennawy is facing charges of spreading "fake news" on her Facebook page for sharing Al Jazeera articles.

Hennawy was sacked from her role as a news anchor on state-run television in 2016 after she criticised President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The journalist then joined the al-Sharq - a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated channel based in Turkey.

The court summon is the latest incident amid a recent crackdown on prominent activists who have spoken up against authorities.

Last week, Sisi warned during a televised speech that journalists who speak to foreign media "will be held accountable".

Last year, Egypt banned Al Jazeera along with other Qatar-affiliated news outlets for allegedly "supporting terrorism".

The ban came days Egypt joined a Saudi-led blockade of Doha.

Egyptian authorities have blocked at least 496 websites belonging to leading media organisations, including the London-based The New Arab, and civil society groups.

Human Right Watch, which has also been blocked in Egypt, has condemned the crackdown to "crush peaceful dissent".

Egypt has waged a massive crackdown on dissent since the 2013 military overthrow of the country's first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi, following mass protests against his one-year divisive rule.

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