Egyptian journalist Magdy al-Galad referred to court for 'spreading false information'

Wednesday 10-02-2016 04:19 PM

CAIRO, Feb 9 (Aswat Masriya) - Public prosecution referred the former editor-in-chief of the local al-Watan newspaper, along with two more journalists, on Tuesday to criminal court on charges of spreading "false information."

A legal representative of Cairo University filed a complaint to the public prosecution, in which he accused the privately-owned al-Watan of spreading false information for publishing a report claiming that the university and the teaching hospital affiliated with it, Qasr al-Aini hospital, wasting public money by supplying the hospital with “unsuitable” equipment. 

Public prosecution stated that investigations revealed the report to be untrue.

The Cairo Court of Appeals decided that the journalists will stand trial in front of the criminal court on March 7.

In 2013, Galad was referred to trial along with another reporter, also on charges of spreading "false information," after the newspaper released a report claiming a militant Islamist "cell," arrested in 2013, compiled a hit list comprising 100 Egyptian figures.

The Egyptian constitution states that the freedom of the press is guaranteed. It also states in Article 71 that no freedom-restricting penalty may be imposed for "crimes of publishing." However, it does leave it up to the law to decide on the penalty undertaken for incitement and discrimination.

Press freedom in Egypt has lately come under scrutiny. Egypt ranked second on a list prepared by France-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders of countries which frequently arrested journalists in 2014.

Galad is currently not in custody and he presents a TV show on the privately-owned satellite station CBC Extra. 

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