Egypt military government says it will bring terrorism charges against 20 Al Jazeera journalists — including four foreigners. The announcement, largely seen as part of the military-backed interim government's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in the country, accuses the journalists of endangering national security, and joining or assisting a terrorist group. Last month, the Egyptian government designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist" organization.
The defendants are accused of "manipulat[ing] pictures" and creating "unreal scenes to give the impression to the outside world that there is a civil war that threatens to bring down the state," and of helping "the terrorist group in achieving its goals and influencing the public opinion," according to the AP's translation of the statement from Egyptian officials.
The current government has long been critical of the way in which foreign media covers their actions, particularly as their attempts to halt street protests in support of deposed president Mohammed Morsi became increasingly violent. In October, the government warned foreign journalists against producing coverage that is "biased to the Muslim Brotherhood," Morsi's political affiliation. But the government has been particularly critical of Al Jazeera's coverage, in part because the news organization has openly called the July 3rd military ouster of Morsi's elected government a "coup," and is seen as sympathetic to the deposed government. Authorities have virtually shut down the station's Cairo facilities, and five Al Jazeera journalists are currently detained by the government.
Those facing charges include Peter Greste of Australia, Canadian-Egyptian Mohammed Fahmy, a Dutch citizen, and two Britons, according to the AP. The Egyptian statement doesn't name the others accused of terrorism charges.