CAIRO — The satellite channel Al-Jazeera Egypt said on Sunday the authorities had prevented it from broadcasting, after entering its offices and confiscating transmission equipment.
Ahmed Zain, the channel's chief in Cairo, told AFP that police, officers from the culture ministry and representatives of Egypt's public broadcaster had also seized materials and that one technician was arrested.
He said they cited the lack of an official licence to broadcast and a complaint from the neighbourhood. He said a lawyer also presented a complaint accusing the channel of "sowing dissent" and "calling for demonstrations."
Zain said Al-Jazeera Egypt had on March 20 requested official authorisation, and that it had been assured it could continue broadcasting in the interim.
The official MENA news agency reported that the closure affected only Al-Jazeera Egypt, not the offices in Cairo of Al-Jazeera and Al-Jazeera International, which have valid licences.
MENA added that the authorities had intervened at the premises of Al-Jazeera Egypt following complaints by its neighbours, and said documents and recordings had been confiscated.
The agency cited an official source as saying Al-Jazeera Egypt "has no licence to use transmitters to broadcast live."
The ruling authorities have cracked down on media outlets seen as diffusing information likely to cause instability in Egypt during its transition following the February ouster of president Hosni Mubarak and transfer of power to the army.
On Wednesday, the government ordered a freeze on new satellite television permits after a meeting with top generals to address "media unruliness," MENA reported.
"It was decided in the meeting to stop issuing licences for satellite channels temporarily," it quoted Information Minister Osama Haikal as saying.
He said the cabinet had also tasked "the investments authority with taking legal measures against (existing) satellite channels that shake stability and security in this period."
The meeting was called to discuss "media unruliness and its effects on citizens... and upcoming elections" this autumn.
Fox News is tamping down its effort to silence a Tucker Carlson producer who is currently suing the network, reversing a complaint the it filed with the Supreme Court of New York this week, the Daily Beast reported.
Abby Grossberg, who was head of booking for for Tucker Carlson's show, filed two separate lawsuits against Fox on Monday alleging that the network wanted to have her and her former boss Maria Bartiromo shoulder the blame for Dominion Voting System's $1.6-billion Dominion defamation suit.
Grossberg was reportedly put on forced administrative leave this Monday. She claims the network's lawyers forced her to make misleading testimony about Fox's election coverage in 2020 and it was an example of the network's culture of misogyny and discrimination.
As the Beast's report points out, Fox initially claimed her legal action “threatened to disclose Fox’s attorney-client privileged information."
“FOX News Media engaged an independent outside counsel to immediately investigate the concerns raised by Ms. Grossberg, which were made following a critical performance review, and her allegations in connection with the Dominion case are baseless,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement. “We are confident her legal claims have no merit and FOX News will prevail in these cases.”
But on Tuesday, Fox retracted its complaint.
“While our office was fully prepared and ready to argue to the New York Supreme Court why Fox News’s baseless and retaliatory lawsuit seeking to restrain Ms. Grossberg from speaking out about her abhorrent experiences at the Network was frivolous, Fox News wisely decided to give up on its clearly meritless claims against Ms. Grossberg," her lawyers said in a statement to the Daily Beast. "We remain ready and eager to vindicate Fox News’s blatant and repeated violation of Ms. Grossberg’s rights, including her right to not be baselessly sued in retaliation for complaining about unlawful conduct, in the Southern District of New York and in Delaware Superior Court.”
Minutes before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron was to gavel in late Tuesday morning, a bomb threat was called in to 911, delaying a pre-trial hearing in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump and his adult children, but only for about 30 minutes.
Over the weekend Trump urged his supporters to “protest,” and “take our country back.” He also claimed he would be indicted on Tuesday. It’s not known who called in the bomb threat, but it wasn’t the delay Trump’s attorneys were hoping for.
Once the hearing began, Trump’s attorneys asked the judge for a six-month delay, Law & Crime reports.
They were denied.
They then asked for a delay of a few weeks.
They were denied again.
“I don’t want to move this trial, not only because I said I don’t want to move it,” Justice Engoron said.
“That’s written in stone,” he added.
“This case is complex, but it’s not complicated,” Engoron explained. “It all boils down to whether the statements of financial condition are true, and the rest as Rabbi Hillel famously said, is all commentary.”
After the hearing ended Trump called for Congress to investigate Attorney General James.
“While Congress is at it, they should look at the Corrupt Attorney General of New York State, Letitia James, who got elected solely on a ‘I WILL GET TRUMP’ platform, without knowing anything about me,” Trump alleged on his Truth Social platform.
“She then brought a completely bogus lawsuit, which is presided over by an A.G. picked, Trump hating Judge, a political hack whose Court this case should not be in – It shoud [sic] be in the Commercial Division, but he wouldn’t let go, is pushing it hard, and knows exactly what he wants to do….”
As Law & Crime notes, Attorney General James “alleges that Trump, his children and his businesses have a pattern of wildly inflating or deflating their assets to reap tax benefits. She claims that Trump estimates the size of his Trump Towers triplex at three times its actual square footage. Trump Organization also valued rent-stabilized units more than 66 times higher than an outside appraiser, she says. These discrepancies and others, she says, warrant her massive proposed civil penalty.”
In a social media post on March 18, 2023, former President Donald Trump announced that he would be arrested on March 21 on charges stemming from an investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Bragg’s office is probing hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, which were allegedly made to spare candidate Trump embarrassment on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.
“THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” wrote Trump.
Scholar Shelley Inglis spent more than 15 years with the United Nations, where she advised governments and democracy advocates on how to strengthen the rule of law, human rights and democratic governance. We asked her about Trump’s post.
What did you think about when you heard his call for protests?
Let me begin by quickly describing populism, because it’s important to my thoughts about Trump’s post. Populist movements portray “the people in a moral battle against elites,” as scholars Jane Mansbridge and Stephen Macedo describe it. Some level of populism is inherent in democracies where candidates appeal to be elected by “the people.”
But what I call autocratic populists use this narrative to claim they are the sole voice of “the people” and those against them are “bad” or even “evil.” They undermine any and all opposition to them and attempts to hold them accountable, including independent institutions like courts, elections and the media. This is how such populists become so dangerous for democracy and the rule of law.
Trump has that autocrat’s populism, in which he says that not only is he anti-elite but that he is “the only one” who can represent the people and calls on the public to question legitimate democratic institutions – which he did even when he was the head of those institutions.
Scholars like me know that protests play an important role in societies, and the freedom to protest is part of a democratic society. The idea of peaceful protests is to hold the government accountable and for people to have an avenue for free speech and be able to participate in demonstrating their demands. But I believe protests are most valuable when they originate from civil society or advocacy groups.
It’s really a red flag if a political party or leader is using people in protest in a democracy like the U.S. That devalues the idea that protests come from the people or what we call civil society. Instead, it’s a manipulation of a democratic society.
Trump wasn’t asking his followers to protest a policy, was he?
He was asking for a protest on his behalf because of what an independent institution is doing. It’s a protest about and for him.
It’s hard for me to think of an example in recent history when political leaders in a democracy like the U.S. demanded that people protest, even on an issue, let alone for them. So Trump’s call is a real populist move that is intended actually to undermine respect for democratic institutions, whereas popular protests and advocacy can be a sign of a vibrant and healthy democracy.
Then-President Donald Trump declaring “I am the chosen one” during a White House session with reporters on Aug. 21, 2019.
But doesn’t Trump couch the moves to hold him accountable as coming from the radical left, not as government holding him accountable?
Demonizing the institution and alleging that the institutions are controlled by an agenda is part of the narrative that Trump has created. It is the populism of “us” versus “them.” Even when he was the head of the government and its institutions, he was fomenting this narrative by effectively saying things like, “This election is going to be unfair … even though I’m president of the United States. I’m already saying that this election, run by my own government, though at multiple levels, is going to be unfair.”
Once populists get in power, they degrade any kind of accountability, any checks and balances, and they debase the opposition through very clever ways of creating a narrative that it’s somehow justified.
Yet Trump is out of power now. How does that still work?
He’s continued with that narrative, which is basically to say he’s the only one who represents the people of the United States as a legitimate voice. And anything that is done against him actually is against the United States. So his phrase in that post, “Take our country back,” means “Give back power to me, or do something against institutions that might be holding me to account.”
For me, it is important for people to appreciate that protest is productive and healthy for democracy when it comes from the bottom up. But when it’s manipulated by political actors, calling on people to protest for them and seek to overturn U.S. institutions, like on Jan. 6, it can actually be highly threatening to democracy.