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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Al Jazeera sues Egypt for $150mn, citing violation of treaty with Qatar

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Al Jazeera Mubshar Misr Channel in Tahrir square set on fire by protesters in November 2012.
Al Jazeera Mubshar Misr Channel in Tahrir square set on fire by protesters in November 2012.

The Doha-based Al Jazeera Media Network has filed a $150 million compensation claim against Egypt, saying its investments in the country have been damaged over the past several months.

A formal “notification of dispute” was lodged with the interim government in Cairo yesterday, based on a 1999 investment treatment treaty between Egypt and Qatar.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Al Jazeera’s lawyer Cameron Doley, a senior partner at London-based Carter-Ruck, said:

“There has been a prolonged and sustained attack on Al Jazeera in Egypt. A media entity is a commercial entity like any other. If your business is wiped out in a given country it doesn’t matter if you are Al Jazeera, the FT or a manufacturer of car parts – you suffer the loss of your investment.”

Politics

The move to sue comes as four of Al Jazeera’s journalists remain in detention in Egypt, on charges of defaming Egypt and affiliating with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Former President Mohamed Morsi was a member of the organization, but was ousted in a military-backed coup last July. Because he was supported by Qatar, some have said the network’s channels have been biased in reporting on the conflict in Egypt.

Hearing for Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt adjourned again

Following Morsi’s overthrow, Al Jazeera has had a hostile reception in Egypt. In a statement, the network said the new interim government has:

  • Ransacked and closed its offices;
  • Confiscated its equipment;
  • Jammed transmissions; and
  • Revoked its broadcast license.

The damage has cost Al Jazeera much of the $90 million it has invested in operations in Egypt since it began broadcasting there in 2001, the network said, including the cost of infrastructure, staffing, broadcasting equipment and regulatory fees paid to the Egyptian state.

According to Reuters, the $150 million claim would also cover anticipated future losses from the shutdown of the network’s Egypt operations.

If the two countries do not reach an agreement in six months, the legal case is expected to go before a panel at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, DC.

It could be years before the claim is sorted out, but Doley said the ICSID was only of the only entities “with teeth” that Al Jazeera could turn to in seeking compensation for commercial losses in Egypt, FT reports.

Thoughts?

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AFG
AFG
7 years ago

Now this is a worthy news. I’m going to follow the news with lots of interest. But nonetheless, I hope this will not impacting other GCC’s view towards Qatar in regards to Qatar’s relation with Egypt

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

I’m guessing Egypt will not pay.

Yacine
Yacine
7 years ago

It makes sense. Sissi and his gang of corrupt and ruthless thugs (ministers, police, army, business people) have been cracking down on all dissenting voices in a bloody way. He can get away with it in Egypt, but the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes will be a tough one to handle.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

While not as violent, the crack down on dissent is alive in well here in Qatar as well. Just ask the poet who ironically recited his poem while in Egypt. Or at least well orchestrated like the Doha Debates. And Morsi’s people were hardly better.

Yacine
Yacine
7 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

With all due respect, comparing Egypt and its handling of dissent to Qatar is utterly nonsense. With the recent crackdown on dissent and the death sentences given to hundreds of people, Egypt is on a league of its own in terms of ruthless ruling and subjugation of people. It is competing with the likes of Burma and North Korea in the first spot on the “most oppressive country” list, and if the latest death sentences are executed, it would clearly be number 1.

Marilyn McLeroy
Marilyn McLeroy
7 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Sorry, I think Syria is a bit ahead of Egypt.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I thinks China and Iran lead in executing it’s own people.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

If you notice I said “while not as violent…”. My comparison is freedom of expression which is tightly controlled here from the general public to the gov’t mouthpiece rqags they call newspapers and even to Al Jazeera.

AFG
AFG
7 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

It is more complicated than that. Egypt does not stand on its own. It receive strong backing from other countries too (sadly including Saudi, Bahrain n UAE). SO it wont go down easily. Even Qatar almost pay the price on supporting Morsi..

Diego
Diego
7 years ago

Good luck on that one.

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