Al Jazeera demands release of staff held in Egypt

Rebecca Hawkes | 05-07-2013

Qatar’s Al Jazeera is demanding the immediate release of two staff members who remain in custody after Egyptian authorities detained 28 of the satellite TV network’s local employees on 3 July.

Ayman Gaballah, managing director of Egyptian news channel Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, and a broadcast engineer for Al Jazeera Arabic, Ahmad Hasan, were still being held the day after armed forces toppled former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July.
Al Jazeera’s premises in Cairo were raided that night, the network said in a statement, which added that Associated Press Television News has since been ordered to deny Al Jazeera channels access to their live services.
Cairo News Company (CNC) has also been told to deny the network access to satellite news gathering and other broadcast equipment, Al Jazeera claims.
“Ayman and Ahmad must be released unharmed immediately. Media offices should not be subject to raids and intimidation. Journalists should not be detained for doing their jobs,” said Mostefa Souag, acting Director General, Al Jazeera Network. “There are big events taking place in Egypt and the world tunes in to Al Jazeera at times like these. The viewing public will not accept being cut-off from news and information. Regardless of political views, the Egyptian people expect media freedoms to be respected and upheld.
“We are grateful to all the media organisations giving us their support on these matters. Al Jazeera has always reported comprehensively in Egypt, even in difficult circumstances. We will continue to do that with our usual approach of encompassing all opinions with accuracy, balance and fairness.”
Critics had claimed Al Jazeera showed bias towards Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
The channel Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr has been broadcasting from Cairo since the 2011 revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.