As journalist, we put our credibility on the line with every story we tell. We are required to tell the truth and to not take a stance on any particular issue. In the U.S., jobs have been lost and reputations ruined for those journalists who have painted an inaccurate picture, but officials in Egypt have arrested a team of Al-Jazeera journalists on Dec. 30 for broadcasting information they are calling “false news.”
Egyptian state security personnel have been interrogating four journalists, including award-winning correspondent Peter Greste and Al-Jazeera English bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy, after taking them into custody today in Cairo. The names of the cameraman and producer on assignment have not yet been made available. Egyptian state security prosecutors are primarily tasked with cases of terrorism or threats to national security.
An anonymous official of the Egyptian state security the Al-Jazeera team is being questioned for broadcasting without permission from the Cairo Marriott. No other charges have been formally made, but the team of journalists is being accused of attempting to spread propaganda for the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Egyptian government labeled as a terrorist organization last week. Egypt claims Al-Jazeera has shown bias towards the Muslim Brotherhood in the past and has prohibited the station’s local affiliate from broadcasting since September.
Al-Jazeera has demanded the immediate release of the four journalists detained in Cairo. In related news, Cairo police backed by the military government clashed with pro-Morsi protestors at the Al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo. Experts speculate that the reason why the Al-Jazeera journalists were arrested was because they had footage and material of pro-Muslim Brotherhood protestors in their possession.