Egypt shuts down independent news site for publishing “fake news”

Egypt shuts down independent news site for publishing “fake news”
Egypt President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi

Cairo, Egypt | By Michael Wandati | Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) has issued an order to suspend the operations of an independent news website, Mada Masr, for a period of six months. This action comes as a result of an ongoing investigation into allegations of disseminating false information, with specific claims that the content published by the site has had a detrimental impact on national security.

Lina Attallah, the Editor of the independent news website Mada Masr, has been called upon to provide an explanation regarding a report suggesting that Egypt might be faced with the prospect of accommodating Palestinians who have been displaced due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

It is worth noting that Lina Attallah received the 2020 Knight International Journalism Award in recognition of her exceptional contributions to impactful journalism.

The media regulator SCMR asserts that it had received complaints from the public, contending that Mada Masr’s reporting contradicted the Egyptian government’s policy, which strictly opposes the acceptance of Palestinian refugees.

Mada Masr issued an apology on its Facebook page a day after the report was published, saying: “After reviewing the report, we felt that its headline leaves room for interpretations that diverge from its content.”

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“For that reason, we have decided to change the headline and are notifying you, our readers, accordingly. We apologize for any confusion,” read the statement in part.

The SCMR said the Egyptian state — represented by the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and senior officials — had reaffirmed its longstanding commitment not to allow the liquidation of the Palestinian cause or the displacement of Palestinians from their lands.

An estimated 1.4 million people in Gaza are currently internally displaced, with some 657,000 sheltering in 150 UNRWA facilities, according to the UN body.