FJP leader Essam al-Erian
A Cairo court began the trial of the vice president of Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood movement on Saturday, accused of defaming a female television presenter.
FJP leader Essam al-Erian and television presenter Jihan Mansur were
both represented by their lawyers during the trial, an Egyptian website reported on Saturday.
Mansur, a presenter with the private television channel, Dream, complained that Erian whom she had interviewed had hinted she was paid to criticize the Muslim Brotherhood.
The case highlights the tense climate prevailing between Islamists and most of the Egyptian media since the election of President Mohamed Morsi in June, who rose from the ranks of the Brotherhood.
Islamists have been repeatedly accused of pressuring the media through the suspension of journalists accused of "insulting" Morsi or airing information seen to be inaccurate.
The appointment of Muslim Brotherhood member Salah Abdel Maqsud Metwalli as Information Minister and a summer revamp of state-run media personnel has fuelled perceptions that the group intended to put pressure on the media.
In August, Morsi tried to pacify the media by signing a decree scrapping preventive detention of journalists for alleged media crimes.
This led to the freeing of Islam Afifi, editor of small independent newspaper al-Dustur, who was accused of spreading false news and inciting disorder.
Afifi was the first journalist to go on trial since the overthrow of veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak in February last year.