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Egypt summons editor, journalists over 'fake news' election coverage

Egyptian authorities cracked down on the media during presidential elections in March. [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 April, 2018

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Egyptian authorities cracked down on media during presidential elections in March, which saw President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi win a second, four-year term in office with 97 percent of the vote.
Egypt's state security prosecutor has summoned the former editor of a local newspaper and eight of its journalists for questioning on charges of publishing false news about the presidential election, the journalists syndicate said on Thursday.

The summons follows a complaint by the National Election Commission against journalists at the daily al-Masry Al-Youm.

The journalists are due to appear in front of the prosecutor on 19 April.

The National Election Commission was not immediately available for comment but had warned it would act against those who published false news about the election.

Al-Masry Al-Youm published a story on 29 March which detailed attempts by Egyptian state officials to encourage voters to head to the polls in several provinces on the final day of voting.

The paper was fined 150,000 Egyptian pounds ($8,500) by the Supreme Media Council, a media regulator.

"The story ... was aimed at insulting the presidential elections and questioning their integrity," state news agency MENA reported at the time, citing the election commission's complaint.
Click here for our coverage of Egypt's election

The commission said the elections were carried out according to the "highest international standards of integrity and transparency".

Egyptian authorities cracked down on the media during presidential elections in March, which saw President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi win a second, four-year term in office with 97 percent of the vote.

The election only had one other candidate – an ardent supporter of Sisi – with other challengers who posed a threat detained or shackled with unsubstantiated charges. 

Egypt ranks 161 out of 180 countries in terms of press freedoms, according to watchdog Reporters Without Borders' 2017 Press Freedoms Index.

At least 29 journalists are in detention, according to Reporters Without Borders, including some accused of working for media affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

About 500 websites which have been blocked by Egyptian authorities.

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