April 27, 2006

Jazeera TV says Egypt police detain journalist

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian police detained Al Jazeera
television's Cairo bureau chief on accusations of spreading
"false" information during his coverage of the Sinai bombings,
Egypt's Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said Hussein Abdel Ghani had
been taken in for questioning after reporting an explosion in
the eastern Egyptian province of Sharkia on Wednesday, a report
the ministry said was false and spread confusion.

"He said there were incidents in Sharkia and nothing
happened. He's spreading confusion," the spokesman said.

"When he said there were was an explosion in Sharkia,
leading everyone to ask about it, about something that didn't
happen, where did he get that from?" he added.

Al Jazeera said during its morning bulletin that police
seized Hussein Abdel Ghani from his hotel in the budget resort
of Dahab, where bomb attacks killed 18 people this week.

"The prosecutor ordered Hussein's arrest pending
investigations into charges of broadcasting false information
which the authorities said was aimed at spreading chaos in the
country," the popular Arabic channel said on its Web site.

Al Jazeera has been banned from several Arab countries due
to its hard-hitting -- and sometimes controversial -- coverage
of events in a region accustomed to state-controlled media.

At least two of its correspondents are under arrest -- the
most prominent is Tayseer Alouni, who was convicted by a
Spanish court of allegedly conspiring with al Qaeda militants.