Rights group files complaint against Reuters for Ansar Beit al-Maqdes story
Courtesy: Reuters
 

A rights group has filed a complaint against Reuters, accusing the British wire agency of propagandizing for a terrorist group, the privately owned ONA news agency reported on Monday.

Diaa al-Din al-Garhy, executive head of the Justice Center for Freedoms, wrote in the complaint that Reuters threatened Egypt’s national security and harmed tourism by publishing a story about the Sinai-based Jihad group Ansar Beit al-Maqdes.

The complaint was filed with Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat.

On February 18, Reuters published a tweet allegedly sent out by the militant group that warned tourists to leave the country by February 20 shortly after a bomb attack on a tourist bus in Sinai killed two Koreans and one Egyptian.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdes had claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We recommend tourists get out safely before the expiry of the deadline,” the tweet read.

Although the jihadi group said repeatedly that it has no accounts on social media, Reuters reported that the information published on the alleged Twitter account appeared on other websites that the group does admit to using.

Reuters thus claimed that the website publishing the group’s statements is “more credible,” Garhy argued, accusing the wire agency of failing to follow professional journalistic standards and promoting the jihadi group.

Barakat has not yet ordered an investigation into the complaint, but the complaint itself has sparked the fears of journalists in the midst of an ongoing crackdown on local and international media.

Twenty journalists and citizens stood trial on February 20 in front of the Cairo Criminal Court for allegedly belonging to a terrorist organization in the so-called Marriott cell case.

The defendants mostly work for the Qatari-based Al Jazeera television network, including three who work for Al Jazeera English.

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