The front pages of Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Dostour newspapers continued to criticise Egypt’s police Monday.
Al-Dostour newspaper published on its front page the criminal record of its arrested journalist, arguing that he has not previously been arrested and had no criminal charges on his record. The privately owned newspaper said the Ministry of Interior “repeatedly” asked the newspaper to make Hussien Abdel Halim the reporter responsible for news coverage of the ministry.
The Ministry of Interior denied any intervention in selecting reporters at the newspaper.
Egyptian government institutions often receive applications from newspapers to accept reporters to be responsible for covering the institution’s news.
Abdel Halim, a trainee journalist who was also not a Press Syndicate member, was arrested on 11 April on charges of theft, possession of drugs, and forgery. The Ministry of Interior released a statement announcing the arrest.
However, the ministry added in its statement that Abdel Halim “distort(ed) the achievements of the police”.
Abdel Halim remains in police custody, and is expected to be interrogated by the prosecution.
Both editor-in-chief and CEO of the newspapers were interrogated for 10 hours by the prosecution, and were released on bail. The two were charged of “endangering national security, creating chaos by spreading false news, and insulting the Interior Ministry”.
In a recent development, Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper defended its position on criticising the police in its Monday issue.
The privately-owned newspaper published Sunday a set of critical articles, arguing that individuals in the police forces have been engaging in acts of torture, rape, cooption, abuse, theft, and kidnapping.
The ministry branded Sunday the special report in Al-Masry Al-Youm as “libellous”, and vowed to take legal action against the newspaper.