Egypt: Mohamed Mounir detained for “spreading fake news" in third case this month

Journalist Mohamed Mounir was detained on June 15 on charges of "spreading fake news", a widespread practice of the Egyptian government to silence critical journalists. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls for his immediate release and the dropping of all charges against him.

Journalist Mohamed Mounir - AlJazeera video Screenshot

Mounir – a member of the Egyptian Syndicate of Journalists and founder of the Front for the Defense of Journalists and Freedoms – was seized by the police from his home in Cairo. He is currently in 15-days pre-trial detention, accused of spreading fake news, joining a terrorist organization and misusing social media.

The accusation of ‘spreading fake news’ refers to Mounir’s openly critical stance towards the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, while his alleged link with terrorism is based on the suspicion of his support for the Muslim Brotherhood (considered a terrorist organization by the government). 

Mounir worked regularly for Al Jazeera, which is banned in Egypt and considered as a platform for the Muslim Brotherhood and other “enemies” of the country by the regime. 

The accusation of misusing social media refers to the sharing of a video recorded by the surveillance camera at Mounir's house that he shared on Facebook. The video shows armed policemen raiding his house while he was absent.

This is not an isolated case. According to Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafeez, a board member of the journalists’ syndicate , Mounir is the third journalist to be arrested and charged onsimilar grounds in the past month.

On May 19, the IFJ reported the arrest of journalists in the context of a state-led campaign dubbed "case number 586" - a campaign to arrest journalists on charges of participating in terrorist groups and spreading "fake news".

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “This is yet another blow to press freedom in the country. We urge the Egyptian government to immediately release Mounir and to stop using made-up accusations to hinder journalists from doing their job.”

For further information contact IFJ Middle East & Arab World on +32 (0) 2 235 22 11

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Find the Middle East and Arab World IFJ regional office on Twitter (in Arab): @IFJ_AR