The de facto government of Egypt has arrested President Mohamed Morsi and closed down at least seven satellite television stations, arresting their staff in the process. It is believed that Morsi is being detained in an unknown location and that arrest warrants for “300” Muslim Brotherhood members have been issued along with travel bans for them and their families. These moves came in the wake of the military coup against the democratically-elected government which came into office just twelve months ago.
Soldiers swept into the studios of Aljazeera Live Misr while it was on air. The staff of parent channel Aljazeera were prevented from covering the gathering of Morsi’s supporters in several public squares.
Senior Freedom and Justice Party leader Mohamed al-Beltaji was reported by many websites describing what had happened as a military coup. He said that the closure of pro-Morsi media outlets was clearly the first step in a comprehensive “anti-Muslim Brotherhood war”.
Activists on social media, mainly Facebook and Twitter, posted comments criticising the media crackdown. It was noted by many that for the twelve months of President Morsi’s time in office, during which opposition groups were extremely insulting and critical of him, not one television station was shut down. “Yet the first chance that the opposition has to do so, it has shut down seven channels.” Which group, asked many new media users, is the most averse to a free media?
Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood sources confirmed that its senior officials Saad al-Katatni and Khairat al-Shater are among those detained by the military authorities. Legal sources told Reuters that a court ruling against Prime Minister Hisham Qandil was approved on Wednesday. Al-Dogy Court convicted him of committing a crime against the state when he decided to return a state-owned company sold to the private sector during Mubarak’s regime.