[JURIST] Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi [BBC profile] on Monday approved a 54-article counter-terrorism law which has been met with significant controversy as many believe it to be an infringement on freedom of the press. Many have said that the law defines [AP report] “terrorism” broadly and gives free reign to law enforcement agents as to force allowed in defending against terrorism, as well as imposing harsh sentences and fines. Al Jazeera reported that the fines, (some upwards of $25,000), imposed on journalists for reporting contradictory reports to what government statements say could effectively shut down [Al Jazeera report] small news agencies and deter them from reporting important events.
The prosecution and subsequent imprisonment of journalists by the Egyptian government has garnered widespread criticism from international governments and rights groups. In February, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] welcomed [JURIST report] the decision by Egyptian authorities to release on bail two Al Jazeera journalists awaiting retrial on terror charges. The men were arrested [JURIST report] in December 2013 along with fellow Al Jazeera journalist and Australian national Peter Greste. In March Greste was released [JURIST report] from the Cairo detention facility and deported, under a law allowing the deportation of foreign nationals to their home countries. Fahmy is currently facing retrial and suing [JURIST report] Al Jazeera, alleging that the news organization was in fact a sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood, and this connection negligently led to Fahmy being detained