Newspaper editor latest target of defamation complaints

Prosecutors on Wednesday opened an investigation into allegations newspaper editor Abdel Halim Qandil defamed President Mohamed Morsy.

Mahmoud Abdel Rahman filed the complaint with the prosecution accusing Qandil, the editor-in-chief of privately owned weekly newspaper Sawt al-Umma, of inciting hatred against the president in October.

The complaint referred to a story that ran in the paper with a photo of Morsy and a caption that read, "100 days of lies. Morsy sells air to Egyptians and implements Obama's orders."

The complaint also mentioned another story by Qandil that began "You are a liar Morsy." According to the complaint, the article included insulting language. Rahman wrote that, according to the Penal Code, Qandil's words are a "crime of libel and defamation against the president of the republic."

The complainant also claimed such crimes provoke sedition and unrest and incite hatred. He called for legal action against the newspaper for following a "destructive and seditious policy."

Several defamation complaints and lawsuits have been filed against the media recently. Faraeen Channel owner and host Tawfiq Okasha was sentenced to four months in prison in October for comments he made on-air against the president, and former Al-Dostour newspaper editor Islam Afifi is charged in two separate cases with defaming Morsy and a prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader.

Prosecutors are also investigating similar charges against comedian Bassem Youssef and Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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