London - Qatari-owned news channel Al-Jazeera has launched
legal action against the Egyptian authorities, saying that its journalists have
been detained without charge and attacked, its London-based lawyers announced on
The network said it had asked renowned legal firm
Carter-Ruck, a specialist in international law, to take action in the
international courts and before the United Nations over accusations of
Since president Mohammed Morsi was overthrown on 3 July,
Al-Jazeera says that "a large number" of its journalists have been
arrested and detained by the security services "either without charge or
on spurious and politically motivated charges".
It also accuses the military and police of attacking its
journalists and says that some of its offices have been closed and its transmissions
The network said earlier this month that its satellite
signals had been blocked in the wake of its critical coverage of Cairo's
crackdown on Islamists.
"Independent experts" were used by Al-Jazeera to
determine where the jamming was coming from, the network said on its website.
It said that trackers identified locations east and west of
Cairo, and specifically identified military installations as the source of
"Al-Jazeera cannot permit this situation to
continue," said a network spokesman in a statement released by its legal
Harassment and intimidation
"The right of journalists to report freely in
situations of this kind is protected by international law and is reaffirmed by the
UN Security Council Resolution 1738.
"Al-Jazeera has instructed its lawyers to take all
steps necessary worldwide to ensure that its journalists can operate freely in
the country, without fear of arbitrary arrest, jamming or other forms of harassment
and intimidation," he added.
The network said that authorities were trying to silence
dissenting voices so that "only the voices of its state-controlled
media" could be heard.
Egyptian authorities and local media have accused Al-Jazeera
of biased reporting of the popularly backed coup that toppled Islamist Morsi.
The Qatari network has given wide coverage to demonstrations
that followed Morsi's arrest and the crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood
Al-Jazeera has previously complained that the security
forces raided its Cairo offices and seized equipment.
Wealthy Qatar had been a strong supporter of Morsi, and it
stood out among other Gulf nations in condemning Egypt's deadly crackdown on