Brotherhood overage is pure journalism, not a political deal with Al Dostour: Eissa

Pierre Loza
CAIRO: With two court cases that target his writings, Al Dostour editor Ibrahim Eissa is also accused of being a Muslim Brotherhood ally due to the paper’s coverage of the banned group.
While the latter accusation hasn’t taken any legal form, Eissa says those who make such claims are blind to the fact that all political streams are given an opportunity to publish their views in his newspaper.
Eissa — who is standing trial for spreading false rumors about the president’s health and appealing another ruling that found him guilty of insulting symbols of the National Democratic Party (NDP) — believes freedom of the press is under severe attack in Egypt. A champion of press freedom, Eissa has been among the loudest critics of the Egyptian
Daily News Egypt: You have been accused of being an ally to the banned Muslim Brotherhood organization. How would you describe your relationship with the group?
Ibrahim Eissa: If you mean by relationship the fact that I have friends and acquaintances from among the Brotherhood’s ranks then yes I do have a relationship with the Brotherhood.
But you must also consider that I have relations with people inside the NDP whom I love and respect. I also have friends who are communists.
I am a journalist so I have contacts with all political streams. You must also consider that these are primarily human relationships, not political ones. But to hint or imply that the newspaper is biased towards or has cut a deal with the MB is nonsense. For the past three years, they [state-run media] have been accusing us of cutting a deal with the Brotherhood, yet they never managed to present any evidence of such a deal. This assumption is because we publish news about the Brotherhood everyday or every week, i
we publish their point of view and defend Brotherhood members who have been detained and are standing trials. In my opinion this is an honor for any journalist. The Brotherhood represents 20 percent of parliament — 88 seats. It is the foremost opposition in the parliament, which [in itself] is insignificant and bare. It is like a semi parliament, something that resembles a parliament. The effective and active elements in it are those of the Muslim Brotherhood. The state-owned media doesn’t want us to ever come near the
Another point is that over the past three years the Brotherhood’s members have been detained more than anyone else in Egypt. They (the Brotherhood) are being tried continuously. They don’t want me to cover the trials of the Brotherhood. When I do cover the trials, they want me to present the point of view of the State Security officer on the case? How is this possible in
any profession, any legislature or any mentality?

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