BY: Follow @Kredo0
The Al Jazeera news network announced on Thursday that it would take legal action against “Egypt's military-backed government” after it ordered the station’s local affiliate to end its broadcasts.
Al Jazeera alleges that the Egyptian government has engaged in a "sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation” in the months since Muslim Brotherhood-backed president Mohammed Morsi was deposed by the nation’s military.
The network vowed to bring its case before the United Nations and international courts.
Tensions between the Egyptian military and Al Jazeera have run high over what critics say is the media network’s sympathetic coverage of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Al Jazeera is funded and controlled by the Qatari government, which gave Egypt nearly $8 billion in loans after Morsi came to power, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
Al Jazeera said on Thursday that it had “instructed London-based law firm Carter-Ruck to take action in international courts and before the United Nations to protect its journalists and their right to report from Egypt,” according to a statement released by the network and posted on its American affiliate’s website.
“Al Jazeera cannot permit this situation to continue,” the statement said. “The right of journalists to report freely in situations of this kind is protected by international law and is reaffirmed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1738 (2006).”
Al Jazeera accused “the new regime in Egypt” of violating its rights.
“The new regime in Egypt has disregarded this fundamental right and seems determined to silence all independent journalism and reporting in the country, leaving only the voices of its own state-controlled media to be heard," the statement said.
Al Jazeera America claimed in its report that a “large number” of the network’s employees “have been arrested and detained either without charge or on what it calls politically-motivated charges.”
“Al Jazeera's offices have been raided and closed, equipment confiscated, correspondents deported, and its transmission jammed by signals coming from military installations,” the report states.
Tensions came to a head in early September when the Egyptian military deported several members of the networks news team.
Three members of Al Jazeera’s television team were detained and eventually kicked out of the country for allegedly “working illegally,” the Associated Press reported at the time.
An Egyptian court eventually ordered Al Jazeera to cease its broadcast, calling the network a national security threat.
The Egyptian military argued that Al Jazeera and several other networks were stoking violence among Muslim Brotherhood protestors, who have taken to the streets in the months since Morsi was forcefully removed from office and imprisoned.
Critics claim that Al Jazeera’s news reports promote Islamist propaganda.
The network came under fire in late August after it was caught airing what appeared to be the staged death of a pro-Morsi protestor.
Al Jazeera America has come under similar fire for broadcasting what critics called pro-Islamist propaganda.
A New York City lawmaker called on citizens last month to boycott their cable providers and demand that they drop the network.