Al Jazeera says four journalists arrested in Egypt

Journalists broadcast live news that harmed “homeland security”, the interior ministry said

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Egyptian security forces have arrested four Al Jazeera journalists in Cairo, the Qatar-based TV network said today.

Al Jazeera said it has demanded the immediate release of the journalists.

“Correspondent Peter Greste, producers Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed as well as cameraman Mohamed Fawzy are being held in custody after arrested by security forces on Sunday evening,” the network said in a statement.

Greste had previously worked for Reuters, CNN and the BBC over the past two decades.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry confirmed that Al Jazeera journalists had been arrested, although said only two people had been detained.

“State security received information that a member of the [Muslim Brotherhood] used two suites in a Cairo hotel to hold meetings with other members of the organization and turned the suites into a press center,” the Interior Ministry said, according to Reuters.

“[They] made live broadcasts of news that harms homeland security, spreading rumors and false news to Qatar’s Al Jazeera channel without permits.”

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Monday highlighted Egypt, along with Syria and Iraq, as among the most dangerous countries for journalists to operate in.

Six journalists died in Egypt during 2013, the CPJ said, adding that the situation had “deteriorated rapidly” in the country. Half of those reporters were killed while reporting on the August 14 crackdown on demonstrators protesting the ouster of President Mohammad Mursi.

The CPJ said the Middle East has become a “killing field” for journalists, with at least 70 journalists killed on the job around the world in 2013.

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