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Egypt court orders closure of four media outlets

An Egyptian court on Tuesday ordered the closure of four media outlets, including an affiliate of Al Jazeera [news website], for their alleged support of the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The Egyptian government reportedly claims [AP report] that Al-Jazeera's affiliate provided biased news coverage during Brotherhood protests following the removal [JURIST report] of president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in July. Authorities claim Al Jazeera has also displayed recorded messages from high-level Brotherhood members in the past few weeks. The other banned stations include a news group tied to the Islamist group Hamas [JURIST news archive], an Islamist media source based in Jordan, and a news channel tied directly to the Brotherhood called Ahrar 25. These closures are the latest move in a concerted effort to subdue the Brotherhood and restore order to the state.

Although Egypt has faced political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began over two years ago, the conflict peaked in July after the Egyptian military deposed Morsi, in addition to suspending the nation's constitution and installing an interim government. Last month the Egyptian prime minister proposed formally dissolving [JURIST report] the non-governmental organization registration of the Muslim Brotherhood in an effort to force the group underground. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged Egyptian authorities [JURIST report] in July to address the escalating violence that followed Morsi's ousting. Only one day after Morsi's ouster, Egyptian authorities shut down four Islamist-run television stations [JURIST report], causing concern among groups such as Amnesty International. The Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, Adly Mansour, took the oath [JURIST report] to become the interim head of state on the same day that Morsi was deposed and has been acting in that capacity since then. According to the OHCHR more than 80 people have been killed and over 1000 injured since political turmoil gripped the nation.

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