Salafi group demands re-opening religious channels
Yasser Borhami - YOUM7/Hussein Tallal

CAIRO: Salafi Call is negotiating with authorities to reopen the religious channels that have been shut down after June 30, Yasser Borhamy, vice president of the Salafi Call, told Youm7 on Sunday.

“We don’t want to re-open the religious channels in the way they operated before, but we need to open them according to certain regulations. They cannot return showing the same people that call others infidels,” Borhamy said.

Security forces affiliated to the Ministry of Interior and military closed all religious channels on July 3 following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. 34 of its owners were arrested.

Besides, forces stormed into Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, arrested its employees and confiscated cameras and equipments of its bureau.

Closing the channels raised both internal and international criticism, as it was considered unlawful and a violation of press freedom.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information denounced closing four channels that supported the former president shortly after July 3, while several other human rights groups, including the Cairo Center for Human Right Studies and Hisham Mubarak Center for Law, expressed their concerns in a joint statement, denouncing the detention of employees of the channels.

“The freedom of media and press guaranteed by the constitution does not allow shutting down certain channels without a judicial verdict,” media spokesperson of Gamaa Islamiyya Mohamed Hassan told The Cairo Post on Sunday.

“(If) anyone wants to shut down a channel, there is a judicial authority, and the channel must be presented to this authority to determine whether it violates law and the constitution,” he said.

Hassan added that currently there are channels operating that incite violence, murder, elimination and accuse people without presenting any evidence.

At the time, government officials and several political figures defended the decision to close down channels with the argument that they incited violence, hatred and murder.

The former Minister of Higher Education Hossam Eissa told Al-Ahram on July 6 that closing these channels was according to exceptional procedures. “It is unacceptable to leave these media platforms calling people to go to streets and let those who attempts to ignite war in Egypt go ahead,” he said.

Minister of Media Dorya Sharaf al-Deen told Al-Arabiya channel on Feb. 8 that the ministry is the one responsible for closing the religious channels as these channels “didn’t commit to the media ethical code.”

“The Muslim Brotherhood attempted to control the Egyptian media during its rule but they failed,” she added.

Additionally reporting by Kamel Kamel.

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