The administrative court referred the case of ONTV to the commissioner’s body on Monday. The body will prepare a legal opinion before the court reaches its verdict. The independent news channel is under threat of being closed down.
The suit was filed by the head of the Democratic Peace party, Ahmad Al- Fadaly, who filed the case after being humiliated on ONTV presenter Yousri Fouda’s weekday show, Akher Kalam. Al-Fadaly accused the news channel of inciting hatred among children against the army, the police, and the ministry of interior, as well as hosting foreign-funded organisations which are intent on destroying the country.
He also accused the news channel of defaming him and setting public opinion against him. In an earlier episode in July 2011, Fouda hosted Al-Fadaly on Akher Kalam, where Al-Fadaly was faced with a video showing him during the battle of the camel on February 2, 2011. He was shown paying the thugs who were repeatedly breaking into Tahrir square with knives and blades and attacking peaceful protesters.
Baha’ Al-Tawil, one of the editors of Akher Kalam, told the Daily News Egypt that the lawsuit had been filed right after this episode. Al-Fadaly recalled the interview, saying that Fouda took him by surprise during the interview as he had shown up to discuss the national reconciliation council, which he was heading at the time.
According to Al-Fadaly, this video, which was replayed over six times during the episode, incited public opinion against him. He said Fouda had used it to “wrongfully” to accuse him of being one of the masterminds behind the battle of the camel. The management of ONTV told the Daily News Egypt that they are awaiting the sentence and that the case is moving normally.
The battle of the camel was a vigorous raid on protesters in Tahrir square by men on camels and horses during the 18 day January uprising in 2011. It involved thugs who attacked protestors using different kinds of weapons in an attempt to clear the square. When their mission proved fruitless as night fell upon the square with protesters still filling it, the tactic changed to trapping the protesters inside the square where people trying to leave were targeted by snipers. It left almost a dozen killed and several badly injured.