Egypt's chief prosecutor on Wednesday referred 20 journalists from the Al-Jazeera TV network, including four foreigners, to trial on charges of allegedly joining or assisting a terrorist group and spreading false news that endangers national security.
It was the first time authorities have put journalists on trial on terror-related charges. The charges demonstrate the expanding reach of the authorities' heavy crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood since the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on July 3.
The charges are based on the government's declaration last month of the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Authorities have long depicted the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network as biased toward Morsi and the Brotherhood. But so far its crackdown on the network had mostly targeted its Arabic service and its Egyptian affiliate.
Soon after the declaration, police arrested three reporters from Al-Jazeera English, accusing them of operating a media center for the group and spreading false news.