CAIRO: A lawsuit demanding the closure of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Rassd New Network (RNN) was filed by lawyer Samir Sabry Monday because it “attacks the Egyptian state” and “falsifies news,” Youm7 reported.
RNN, which launched in 2010 but only received significant readership after the January 25 Revolution in 2011, has over 7.8 million likes on Facebook. RNN is not registered as a news outlet in Egypt, and two of its journalists, Samhi Moustafa and Abdullah al-Fakharany, have been jailed since 2013.
Sabry accuses Amr Farrag, who is reported by Egyptian media to run RNN from Turkey, of receiving funds from the Brotherhood to stir strife in Egypt through RNN. Farrag, however, writes on his Facebook account that he works in RNN’s Public Relations department, and that he lives in Cairo.
Turkey has hosted dozens of Brotherhood members and conferences since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, and unlike Qatar, another regional supporter of the Brotherhood, Ankara’s relations with Cairo are still publicly strained.
RNN boomed in the wake of the revolution as an alternative to media biased to former President Hosni Mubarak and a venue for citizen journalism. Its Islamist affiliations, however, became clear as referendum, parliamentary and presidential polls began in 2011-2012.
Since Morsi’s ouster, RNN has constantly covered Brotherhood protests and run articles severely criticizing the government and activists who had opposed Morsi during his short-lived tenure.
Controversial lawyer files political cases
Sabry has a reputation for filing “hesba” cases, which are lawsuits filed on political or religious grounds to defame one’s opponents, or to gain money or fame.
Sabry filed a lawsuit demanding the designation of Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr as a supporter of terrorism before it was shut down by the Qatari monarchy in December 2014 following a thaw in relations with Egypt.
He also filed a lawsuit against famed Egyptian actor Khaled Abol Naga and award-winning satirist Bassem Youssef for “insulting” President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in November and October 2014, respectively. He has also filed lawsuits against bellydancers Dina and Safinaz for “spreading indecency.”
The controversial lawyer succeeded in obtaining judicial rulings banning the Muslim Brotherhood in February 2014, which had been designated as a terrorist organization by the government in December 2013, as well as banning Gaza’s Hamas and Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement in March and April 2014, respectively.