April 12, 2018 / 5:57 PM / 8 months ago

Egyptian prosecutor summons nine journalists over election coverage

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s state security prosecutor has summoned the former editor of a local newspaper and eight of its reporters for questioning over their coverage of the presidential election, the general secretary of the journalists syndicate said Thursday.

The summons follows a complaint by the National Election Commission against journalists at the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm for publishing what it called false news about the election, syndicate secretary general Hatem Zakaria said

The journalists are due to appear in front of the prosecutor on April 19.

The National Election Commission was not immediately available for comment, but it had warned it would act against those who published false information about the election, won by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with 97 percent of the vote on a turnout of 41 percent.

The election featured only one other candidate - an ardent Sisi supporter - after serious opposition contenders pulled out in January.

Al-Masry Al-Youm published a story on March 29 which detailed attempts by state officials to encourage voters to head to the polls in several provinces on the final day of voting.

The paper was fined 150,000 Egyptian pounds ($8,500) by the Supreme Media Council, a media regulator.

“The story ... was aimed at insulting the presidential elections and questioning their integrity,” state news agency MENA reported at the time, citing the election commission’s complaint.

The election commission said the vote was held according to the “highest international standards of integrity and transparency”.

Reporting by Mohamed Abdellah; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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