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Alex Wright

Egyptian paper's criticism of police leads to boycott

Many Egyptians have expressed their anger at the criticism of police [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 April, 2015

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Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm's report criticising the country’s police sparks a social media boycott as interior ministry blames paper's "personal motives".

A privately-owned Egyptian newspaper has come under fire after publishing a seven-page series of reports harshly criticising the country’s police.

The 'Holes in the uniform' report on Sunday in al-Masry al-Youm addressed the widespread torture in Egyptian police stations and prisons.

It also looked into accusations of rape and bribery, comparing the practices to the Mubarak era, and more specifically of former interior minister, Habib al-Adly.

Recent controversial incidents were brought up in the report, including the killing of socialist activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh by police during a peaceful protest, the alleged rape of a woman in a police car by two officers and the killing of a CSF conscript in Sinai.

However, Egypt's interior ministry was swift in releasing a statement the same day, calling the report "unprofessional".

The ministry claimed there were "personal motives" behind the report, adding that it would take legal action against the newspaper.

This is not the first time al-Masry al-Youm has come under fire from Egypt's government.

It has previously been in trouble for an unpublished report stating that the 2012 elections were fixed, and has had an interview with a former intelligence official on espionage operations with Israel's national intelligence agency censored.

Many used social media to express their anger at the criticism of Egypt's police, with the hashtag #Boycott_AMAY being mentioned 15,000 times on Twitter.

@DaliaHassan202: The people pissed at the police should go spend 12 hours in Arish or even at a police checkpoint. Show me how tough you are or are your bed-covers nice and warm?

@aminaanwarali: Your news coverage is petty. Your news coverage is destroying the country. Your news coverage does not represent us.

@sarafahmy2000: AMAY picked up Tahrir's rubbish known as activists, gave them jobs and created mafia in the name of freedom of press to lash out at the state's services.

@popelkber: The boycott is not just not against the newspaper it is also against the website, businesses, television reporters and everyone who is part of them.

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