Religious channels shut down

A number of Islamist channels actively supporting ousted president Mohamed Morsi promptly went off-air following an announcement Wednesday night that Morsi would be removed from office.

The satellite channels include the Muslim Brotherhood-owned Misr 25,  along with other Islamist channels such as Al-Hafez, Amgad and Al-Nas.

“These channels perpetuate the idea of using violence,” said armed forces spokesman Ahmed Ali. “We need stability and this is why they were closed. We are trying to contain the situation for the new Egypt,” he added.

“Freedom of speech is protected but not when it incites violence and hatred.”

Security personnel raided Al-Jazeera Mubasher, the Qatari conglomerate’s Egyptian channel, on Wednesday. A video uploaded by the channel shows officials going through the offices of employees at the satellite channel.

The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the forced closing of the channels. “The closing of these channels is in clear violation of the law and a crackdown on media freedom,” said the group in a statement.

Although individuals on these channels had resorted to hateful and violent rhetoric in support of Morsi, said ANHRI, the punitive measures should have been taken against the individuals who had made the remarks, rather than entire channels.

Although some of the employees working for the channels had been arrested, they were released shortly after, according to Chairman of the Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan during comments aired on Al-Hayat satellite channel.

The Brotherhood, who continue to take a strong position against Morsi’s ouster, denounced practices it called “repressive” which they said have included “killings, arrests, restrictions on freedom of the media and closure of TV channels,” in a statement released on Thursday.

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