March 5, 2018 / 3:28 AM / 12 days ago

Cairo prosecutor orders arrest of TV host for 'defaming police' - MENA

CAIRO (Reuters) - A Cairo prosecutor ordered on Sunday that a state TV talk show host be detained for four days of questioning for allegedly defaming the police, state news agency MENA reported.

The order came days after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said insulting Egypt’s security forces amounted to treason, and after the public prosecutor urged legal action against media outlets deemed to be publishing “false news”.

The presenter, Khairy Ramadan, hosts a nightly talk show called Egypt Today on Egypt’s state-run Channel 1.

Pro-government news website El Watan said the accusation came after an episode of the programme in which Ramadan said he had spoken to the wife of a police officer who was struggling to get by financially.

The interior ministry had this week filed a legal complaint about Ramadan, MENA said.

News outlets reporting from Egypt have come under fire from authorities in the past week, including the BBC, which Egypt’s government press centre urged all officials to boycott after an article about human rights that stirred controversy.

The press centre accused the British state broadcaster of “spreading lies” by reporting the alleged forced disappearance of an Egyptian woman at the hands of authorities, and the woman appeared days later on a talk show denying the report. The BBC said it stands by the “integrity of our reporting teams”.

The scrutiny of news outlets comes ahead of a March 26-28 presidential election in which Sisi is virtually guaranteed to win a second term, running against a single, little-known opponent who has said he supports the incumbent.

Egypt’s military is meanwhile waging a campaign to defeat Islamic State militants in the Sinai Peninsula.

Editing by Catherine Evans

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