Two former Al Jazeera employees are suing the news network for neglecting journalistic ethics during the 2013 Egyptian revolution and endangering the lives of journalists by sending them to Egypt without proper operational licenses.
Former Al Jazeera English bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Al Jazeera English cameraman Mohamed Fawzi were convicted in 2014 on charges of collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood to spread the terrorist group's agenda via fabricated news stories in the Egyptian revolt. Fahmy served 438 days in an Egyptian prison while Fawzi sought asylum in the United States.
False stories about the Muslim Brotherhood included reports of millions of Muslim Brotherhood supporters raging in Cairo and a general misrepresentation of the Muslim Brotherhood's activity in Egypt.
But according to Fahmy, without his knowledge, Al Jazeera was actually working in collusion with the Muslim Brotherhood, which allowed the network to operate illegally in Egypt during the revolution. In return, Al Jazeera supplied the terror group with cameras and equipment to spread its propaganda. Fahmy said this practice is widespread and must stop because it endangers employees who wished to cover the crisis as journalists rather than act as partisans for a terror network.
"It's not citizen journalism, as Al Jazeera likes to call it. It's taking sides, endangering the lives of your reporters, and becoming part of the struggle rather than just reporting on it," he said at press conference on Thursday.
In the case of Fahmy and Fawzi, their content was produced for Al Jazeera English, but it was reused and repurposed for the more radical Arab language division of Al Jazeera, although neither Al Jazeera nor Al Jazeera English had permission to be in the Egypt during the revolution. Al Jazeera repeatedly told Fahmy that his operation was legal and that he would be protected, but turned its back on him when he was prosecuted for creating fake stories.
Fahmy said disregard for employees and support of terror such as this instance occur because Al Jazeera is controlled directly by the Qatari palace, and the network's editorial policy is the same as that of the Qatari government. Through Al Jazeera, Qatar voices support of terror groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Fahmy and Fawzi's attorney Martin McMahon said Al Jazeera's support for terror groups reflects poorly on its relation to the free world.
"If you work for Al Jazeera, you are deemed to be a member of the Muslim brotherhood," he said.
Washington Institute for Near East Peace fellow and frequent Al Jazeera contributor David Pollock said that the network has been able to rise to prominence while still vocally supporting terror groups because its English division takes a more moderate editorial line than its Arab edition. Pollock compared these tactics to that of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose English language website promotes "tolerance," while its Arab language website emphasizes Sharia law.
"Anything on Al Jazeera is not from a free press because Al Jazeera never was and still is not free," he said.