On 24 June, at least eight undercover officers raided the offices of news outlet Al-Manassa in Cairo and arrested editor-in-chief Nora Younis without an arrest warrant and searched her laptop.
Authorities accused her of running a website without proper licensing, a common strategy of President al-Sisi’s regime to silence critical journalists and close down independent media in Egypt.
Media organisations in Egypt need the government's permission for their activity – Younis had followed all of the necessary legal steps in 2018, but, like many other media, never received a reply from the Higher Council for Media.
Fattah al-Sisi’s government has been using different strategies to target, harass and silence critical journalists, including accusations of “spreading fake news”.
Younis became one of them after she denounced human rights violations and police brutality in Egypt, for which she received an award in 2008. Her website, like at least 500 others, has been blocked since 2017.
In recent months Egyptian authorities have increased their pressure on media. In May, journalist Lina Attalah was arrested while interviewing the sister of an imprisoned activist.
The IFJ said: “We urge the Egyptian government to immediately release Nora Younis and to put an end to the current large scale repression of independent journalists. This is unacceptable, especially in the midst of a pandemic when a free and independent press is essential.”