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Journalists From Egypt’s Independent News Outlet Referred To Trial For Insulting Pro-Government Lawmakers

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Three journalists from Egypt’s most well-known independent news organisation, Mada Masr, have been referred to trial for insulting lawmakers from a pro-government party and abusing media channels, according to the news organisation. 

According to an article by Mada Masr, if found guilty, the three female reporters could be sentenced to between six months and two years in jail as well as fines of up to 300,000 Egyptian pounds ($9,810).

The situation began with a Mada Masr piece written by the three journalists and released the previous year, which claimed that a state investigation had found evidence of “gross financial misconduct” on the part of Nation’s Future party members.

The case is related to a Mada Masr article that the three journalists wrote and that was released last year, which claimed that a state investigation had found evidence of “gross financial misconduct” on the part of party members from the Nation’s Future.

The party denied the report, and its members and supporters filed hundreds of complaints against the journalists. The party fervently supports President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and is a powerful force in Egypt’s parliament, firmly disagrees with the report.

Mada Masr is one of the few independent media sources in Egypt fighting to remain open following a broad crackdown on political dissent and restrictions on independent civil society. 

Its website is blocked in Egypt, and its Cairo headquarters were raided in 2019.

Lina Attalah, the website’s administrator, is accused of establishing a website without a permit. Mada Masr claims that it has been trying since 2018 to apply for a licence under a new law governing the press, but no answer has been given to repeated inquiries.

Reporters Without Borders, a group that monitors media freedom, places Egypt 168th out of 180 nations in its press freedom index and reports that 24 journalists are presently imprisoned there.

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