The Editor-in-Chief of Al-Bayan newspaper, Ibrahim Aref, is being investigated by the prosecution following his arrest on accusations of publishing false news.
Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat issued an arrest warrant Monday for Aref for “publishing false news that can endanger general security, terrorise people and harm public interest”, state media reported.
The questioned news covered the assassination of six prosecutors and was published by the paper on Monday morning according to the prosecution. However, the report was not to be found on the newspaper’s website later.
The newspaper’s Dokki office was raided by police and Aref was arrested on Monday.
The Press Syndicate’s commissioner of freedoms, Khaled El-Balshy, confirmed the news to Daily News Egypt Tuesday, saying: “Aref is now in being investigated by prosecution.”
The syndicate issued a statement condemning the prosecution’s move against Aref, saying it violates articles 68 and 69 of the press regulation law setting controls of investigating journalists in publishing cases.
“The syndicate asserts that the quick move by the prosecution in the case violates all legal rules especially that law prevents pre-trial detention in publishing cases as it also conditions informing the syndicate of summoning any journalist for investigation enough time before the summon,” the statement added.
The syndicate called on the prosecution to commit to legal rules as “violating them by the authority which is supposed to enforce law may send negative signals”.
Press Freedom has been challenged recently, earlier in May Al-Watan newspaper’s special edition, printed on the newspaper’s anniversary, was confiscated after print reportedly for using the front-page headline “7 entities more powerful than Al-Sisi”.
In late April, five journalists from Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper were subject to investigations for publishing a report on police violations on protesters, detainees and conscripts, which the interior ministry described as “libelous”.
According to a December report by the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), at least 44 journalists were arrested in the first half of 2014, not all of them are currently detained.