TV agency boss facing charges over food riots says he is being harassed for links with al-Jazeera

first_img Detained woman journalist pressured by interrogator, harassed by prison staff Receive email alerts EgyptMiddle East – North Africa News February 6, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders today voiced concern about legal action against Nader Gohar, owner of Egyptian TV news agency the Cairo News Company (CNC), who was charged on 5 May with unlicensed broadcasting of food riots in the north of the country on 6 April. The al-Aguza correctional court in Cairo on 5 May charged Gohar with broadcasting protests without permission in the Nile Delta city of Mahalla against a hike in the price of basic foodstuffs, in which demonstrators were shown tearing down photos of Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.The complaint was made against him by the public Egypt Radio Television Union and on 17 April, police searched CNC offices and seized satellite dishes and equipment belonging to foreign channels that work with the broadcast company. Cairo’s prosecutor-general questioned Gohar on three occasions and his trial is due to open on 26 May.Gohar denied to Reporters Without Borders that he had sent a team to Mahalla to cover the protests. “A lot of companies work without licences in Egypt. I am a victim of the state’s campaign of harassment against al-Jazeera, one of the TV channels I work with regularly,” he said. Gohar confirmed that he has not had a broadcast licence for several months, but added that the authorities had told him to wait for law reform before renewing his application.“Covering food riots is full of pitfalls for the media. Several journalists and bloggers were arrested during the events that shook the city of Mahalla in April,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.“Legal proceedings started against Nader Gohar sound a warning to all Egyptian journalists who work with foreign media. We call on the prosecutor’s office to put an end to these proceedings and to give the journalist time to renew his work permit,” it said.Gohar, whose lawyer has not been given permission to see the file, faces a prison sentence and a harsh fine. The trial judge will be Sherif Kamal, who has handed down severe sentences to journalists in previous cases. Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein back home after four years in prison Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Egypt May 7, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 TV agency boss facing charges over food riots says he is being harassed for links with al-Jazeera Less press freedom than ever in Egypt, 10 years after revolutioncenter_img Organisation News News EgyptMiddle East – North Africa February 1, 2021 Find out more RSF_en News to go further January 22, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Is this stock halal? Islamic finance charts high-tech future

first_img“Is it halal to buy shares in Tesla?” a young Muslim would-be investor asks on Twitter.Islamic finance – an amalgamation of Sharia law and modern banking – has become a US$2 trillion business over the past two decades, covering everything from bonds to buying cars.But with complex standards set out by a number of Islamic bodies, it’s not easy for observant Muslims to decide whether or not an investment is halal (religiously permissible). Yet new technology is helping.Tesla, the American electric car pioneer, for example, is considered 96 percent Sharia compliant, according to the Zoya mobile application.The app screens US-listed stocks based on criteria issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions, one of several bodies that set Islamic finance standards.Islamic funds are banned from investing in companies associated with tobacco, alcohol, pork or gambling. Earning interest is also banned as “usury”. US-based Wahed Invest, an online halal platform, uses those criteria to help tens of thousands of people invest “ethically”.Islamic bankers are hoping that modern platforms will open the industry up to young investors, and that its innately ethical credentials will prove to be another draw.Mehdi Benslimane, Global Expansion Strategist at Wahed Invest, said the guidelines in religious texts boil down to two conditions.”A business must have a real economic impact, not just a speculative one. And it must have a positive contribution to the world,” he told AFP. Not just for MuslimsAccording to the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, the Islamic finance industry has in its relatively short existence grown to be worth $2.1 trillion.In projections made before the coronavirus outbreak, it predicted the sector would “continue to expand slowly” in 2020.Financial technology, or fintech, could help the industry grow by “facilitating easier and faster transactions”, it said in its Islamic Finance Outlook 2020 Edition.The meltdown the coronavirus pandemic has caused in other parts of the economy has prompted fears of a collapse in the sector. Dubai Islamic Bank has already delayed a planned issue of Shariah-compatible bonds, according to Emirati media reports.Yet Islamic finance – based on the concept of shared profit and loss, thus minimising risk for banks – has fans well beyond the Muslim world.For example, the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank in November signed an agreement with Japan’s mammoth pension fund to support the development of sustainable Sharia-compliant products.And the Responsible Finance & Investment (RFI) Foundation, a think tank, has talked up their ability to respond to the latest crash, due to the fact they are anchored in the real economy.It also suggests that profits on investments in industries such as protective medical equipment could be donated to charities, helping tackle the coronavirus crisis without breaking the Islamic ban on interest payments.But the sector’s current slow-moving nature may hobble its ability to respond to crises.The emphasis has been on growing the market rather than making it more efficient, said Mohammed al-Sehli, CEO of Wethaq Capital, a Dubai-based fintech firm.The sector must focus more on innovation after “suffering from lack of innovation, standardisation and automation of processes”, he told AFP.Particular challengesBefore the novel coronavirus pandemic forced them to work from home, young men and women – in traditional abaya robes or jeans and T-shirts – sat on bean bags or hunched over their laptops in an open working space at Dubai’s FinTech Hive.The company’s executive vice president Raja al-Mazrouei says it connects start-ups with the Dubai Islamic Economic Development Centre, Sharia scholars, Islamic banks and financial regulators. “If you’re targeting countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia… you have to be able to offer a (sharia-compliant) solution,” Mazrouei told AFP.However, Islamic fintech firms face a string of obstacles that don’t bother their traditional counterparts.”The main challenge… is to make sure that the whole supply chain, the regulations, are actually tested and verified by the Sharia scholars,” said Mazrouei, a former computer scientist and a Harvard graduate.Talal Tabbaa, founder of which connects investors with start-ups, and itself uses blockchain technology, describes an industry where cultures can collide.The approach of some Muslim scholars who approve financial products “is not technological, it is very manual and, in my opinion, subjective,” he said.Topics :last_img read more