[JURIST] Qatar based news service Al Jazeera [media website] will take legal action against the Egyptian military government according to a press release [text] issued Thursday. Al Jazeera has accused the regime of detaining journalists [Al Jazeera report] without charges or on politically motivated charges, raiding Al Jazeera offices, confiscating equipment and jamming transmission of broadcasts. According to their press release, Al Jazeera has instructed its lawyers at Carter-Ruck [firm website] to bring action against the Egyptian regime in international courts and before the UN. Also in the release a spokesperson from the news agency stated that, “Al Jazeera cannot permit this situation to continue. The right of journalists to report freely in situations of this kind is protected by international law and is reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 1738” [text]. Resolution 1738 condemns deliberate attacks and violence against journalists.
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 president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], in addition to suspending the nation’s constitution and installing an interim government. Earlier in September an Egyptian court ordered the closure of four media outlets, including an affiliate of Al Jazeera, 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 Morsi in July. 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 [advocacy website].