Egyptian court orders closure of Islamist TV channel

CAIRO (AFP) - A Cairo court on Monday ordered that an Islamist television channel be closed permanently, accusing it of attempting to disrupt the unity of Egypt.

The broadcaster, Al-Hafez, was ordered to be shut after accusations that it was "inciting hatred" against Coptic Christians and "undermining national unity".

Al-Hafez and some of its presenters have often been accused by Copts and liberals of using harsh language about them in its reports.

The channel was among several other Islamist networks to be taken temporarily off the air soon after the July 3 ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi by the military.

Several human rights organisations in Egypt have said that "holding the inciter accountable is mandatory, but the closure of channels is a form of collective punishment, which constitutes a violation of media freedom".

The court's decision comes a day after Egypt expelled three foreign journalists working as freelancers for Al-Jazeera television's English-language channel.

Al-Jazeera has charged that there is a campaign against it in Egypt as its offices have also been raided several times.