The Al Jazeera Media Network has served the Egyptian Government with a claim for $150m in compensation, based on the grounds that its investments in the country have been damaged since July 2013. The claim also accuses Cairo’s military leadership of organising a “sustained campaign” against the news network along with targeting its journalists and employees.
One of the lawyers representing Al Jazeera from the London law firm Carter-Ruck, Cameron Doley discussed the compensation claim with Reuters saying that he served the Egyptian government with a claim document outlining the accused targeting of media networks and Al Jazeera’s journalists after the Egyptian army had overthrown President Morsi on July 4th.”Al Jazeera invested substantial sums in Egypt and the effect of this recent campaign by the military government is that this investment has been expropriated. Egypt is bound by international law to pay Al Jazeera just and effective compensation.”
The $150 million claim, includes, as well future losses from the shutdown of Al Jazeera’s Egypt operations, compensation for damage to the infrastructure and running expenditure for Al Jazeera’s four channels within Egypt. Along with the costs of equipment, regulatory fees and staff employment. Al Jazeera has said that its investment totals at least $90 million in operational costs within Egypt – since it started broadcasting in 2001.
The claim filed by the Al Jazeera media network details the months following the overthrow of the government of former president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian military, where Al Jazeera’s journalists and employees where subjected to a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation. The accused government and military actions include ransacking and closure of Al Jazeera offices, confiscation of equipment, jamming of transmission and arbitrary detention of journalists. Al Jazeera’s Egyptian broadcast license has been revoked and its Cairo branch has been subjected to compulsory liquidation of assets.
According to the bilateral investment treaty signed between Doha and Cairo, investors from both sides should be afforded fair and equitable treatment by the governments of both countries. As the treaty obliges Egypt to provide Al Jazeera’s investments with full protection and security, Al Jazeera considers the Egyptian authorities to be in violation of international law.
The Egyptian government, which received a formal “notification of dispute” from the network on Monday, has declined to comment on the compensation claim. The “notification of dispute” is based on a 1999 bilateral investment treaty between Egypt and Qatar, which stipulates the mutual promotion and protection of investments. If there is no settlement between Al Jazeera and the Egyptian authorities within six months, Al Jazeera has said that it plans to send the case to international arbitration.
Four Al Jazeera journalists are currently in custody, and six have been tried in absentia.
About the Author
James Rush is TFM’s Founder & Chief Editor.