In the final days of the Mubarak regime in January 2011, the Egyptian government cancelled the license of Al Jazeera to operate in Egypt, withdrew all press accreditations for the Network and blocked the satellite transmission of Al Jazeera on Nile Sat, which is owned by the Egyptian government.
Al Jazeera doubled down on its coverage of Egypt. In Tahrir Square in 2011, protesters had installed a huge screen tuned to Al Jazeera around the clock.
In February, Egyptian security forces arrested Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Cairo at the time, Abdul Fattah Fayed, along with Al Jazeera English correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin and journalists Ahmed Yousif and Osama Abdul Aziz Hassan.
In one of the regime's final acts of desperation, Al Jazeera's offices in Cairo were ransacked in February as well.
When former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down on February 11, 2011 - after ruling the country for three decades - Al Jazeera broadcast the iconic image of hundreds of thousands of cheering Egyptians in Tahrir Square, with no commentary.
On July 3, 2013, the Egyptian military carried out a coup against the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, and suspended the constitution.
Security forces broke into Al Jazeera's bureau in Cairo and arrested 28 staff members, all from Al Jazeera Mubasher in Egypt, including the head of the Channel, Ayman Jaballah. They were all released, but Jaballah was later sentenced in absentia.
Also in July, Egyptian forces arrested Al Jazeera Mubasher cameraman Mohamed Badr. He would remain in jail for seven months before his acquital and release.
In the summer of 2013, Al Jazeera’s teams were spread across the country. One team was deployed in Rabaa al-Adawiya square, which had been a place for thousands of people to protest the coup peacefully up until August 14, 2013, when the military moved in to destroy it. Al Jazeera provided extensive coverage of the massacre that was committed there, described by Human Rights Watch as "one of the world's largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history." Hundreds of people lost their lives in the square.
Four Al Jazeera journalists were detained. One of the reporters for Al Jazeera Arabic, Abdullah al-Shami, was detained without charge for 10 months. He went on hunger strike for four months, and was finally released on June 17, 2014, and relocated to the headquarters in Doha. On September 8, 2018, al-Shami was sentenced in absentia to 15 years imprisonment.
Al Jazeera Mubasher's license to operate in Egypt was revoked.
And an entire crew from Al Jazeera English were detained for two days: Baher Mohamed, Russ Finn, Adil Bradlow and Wayne Hay.
In September, it was discovered that the Egyptian military was behind a sustained effort to distort the satellite signal of Al Jazeera, which was (and still is) free to air across the Arab world.
Four months later, four journalists with Al Jazeera English - Mohamed Fawzy, Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy – were arrested on December 29, 2013. Fawzy was released shortly thereafter, but the rest spent more than a year in jail. Al Jazeera launched a global campaign to protest the violations of press freedoms, #JournalismIsNotaCrime.
In June 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced Fawzy, Greste, Mohamed, Fahmy and five others to prison terms ranging between 7-10 years. The five are:
- Khalil Bhanasy
- Alaa Bayoumi
- Anas Abdul Wahab
- Dominque Kane
- Sue Turton
Greste was released on February 1, 2015. Mohamed and Fahmy were released on February 12, 2015.
In May 2014 - taking a cue from Syrian authorities who had confiscated the property of one of Al Jazeera's most prominent talk show hosts, Faisal Alkasim - Egyptian authorities confiscated the personal property of Ahmed Mansour. Mansour was also a star talk show host. By October he had been sentenced in absentia to a 15-year prison term. In response to an Egyptian arrest warrant, Mansour was detained for a short while at the airport in Berlin in June 2015.
In June 2016, Egyptian courts sentenced one of Al Jazeera's former News Directors, Ibrahim Hilal, to death, while putting out an arrest warrant for Ayman Gaballah, the Managing Director of Al Jazeera Mubasher.
In December 2016, one month after Al Jazeera broadcast a documentary on compulsory inscription in Egypt, the authorities in Cairo arrested Mahmoud Hussein, an Egyptian journalist working in the headquarters of Al Jazeera in Doha. Hussein had traveled to Egypt to visit his family. As of mid-2018, Hussein had spent almost two years under interrogation, without charge.
Countless Egyptian journalists - some affiliated with Al Jazeera, others not - have been pursued relentlessly since the media crackdown that began in 2013.