The Egyptian parliament decided on Monday to refer journalist Ibrahim Eissa, the editor-in-chief and owner of Al-Maqal newspaper, to the general prosecution on accusations of insulting the parliament, local media reported.
This came as a response to a report filed by member of parliament (MP) Mortada Mansour against Eissa, requesting his referral to the prosecution for insulting the parliament.
To back up his report, the MP referred to Article 8 of parliament’s internal regulations which stipulates that the head of parliament is committed to protect the parliament’s dignity and its members.
He also said that Eissa’s newspaper has been consistently insulting the parliament, referring to the newspaper’s main headline on Tuesday, which read, “the parliament is a cartoon, and it was the state security that selected the MPs.”
Meanwhile, the parliament’s speaker Ali Abdul Aal, said “we have sworn to respect the Constitution and the law, and the Constitution stipulates the freedom of press. I believe that Al-Maqal newspaper committed crimes according to the Penal Code Law and included phrases that constitute crimes.”
Abdul Aal added that in accordance with his role, he has to protect the parliament, and he asserted that Eissa is always insulting the parliament.
Moreover, MP Mostafa Bakry commented on the newspaper’s stance against parliament, saying that its work against the parliament is not considered criticism nor is it respectful to the parliament, but represents a violation of a number of taboos emphasised by the Constitution.
These types of works help to destroy the country’s institutions, and therefore Eissa should be presented to the prosecution to be an example for others targeting any of the country’s institutions, according to Bakry.
Since its constitution in early 2016, the parliament has witnessed a huge wave of criticism by public figures, media, and rights organisations for its stance over several issues, especially legislation. The parliament is currently responsible for discussing the country’s laws, top issues, and its international agreements, as well as its development projects.
Eissa used to host a talk show on the privately-run Al Kahera Wal Nas, but he was suspended two month ago. Eissa commented that he was the one who decided the show would be suspended, however others suggested political reasons, as the talk show content was criticising the country’s policies on different issues.