The editor of an Egyptian state-owned daily has been suspended after the paper carried a report, denied by the judiciary, that two former military chiefs were being investigated for corruption.
Al-Gomhuria editor Gamal Abdul Rahim hit back, saying the action taken against him was a "settling of scores" by Islamists around President Mohamed Morsi for his paper's critical reporting of the Muslim Brotherhood over the years.
The head of the Supreme Press Council replaced Abdul Rahim by appointing Abdel Azim al-Bably as the acting editor-in-chief of Al-Gomhuria.
The paper reported in its Wednesday edition that former defence minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and his armed forces chief of staff, General Sami Anan, had both been barred from leaving the country while the investigation continued.
Tantawi headed the interim government that took over from the former President Hosni Mubarak on his ouster in February last year and Anan was his number two.
A judicial source denied the report, MENA news agency said.
A military source voiced "the extreme indignation of the armed forces over... the attack on their commanders and symbols," the news agency added.
“The men of the armed forces demand that the media exercise precision and caution in dealing with stories about the military, lest they negatively impact Egyptian national security,” an official military source told state TV's website.
But the editor was unrepentant.
"I publish journalism that is in the interests of the Egyptian people, journalism that is independent," he told Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr television. “The Brotherhood knows nothing about freedom of the press.”
Mohammed Abdul Razek, a news presenter for Egypt 25, told the Doha Centre for Media Freedom that state-owned newspapers should be allowed to work away from the shadow of the Shura Council. “We need an independent body directing state newspapers to avoid such situations,” he said.
“Freedom of speech and expression should be a priority since we are on our way to build a new Egypt,” Razek added.
There have been growing accusations by staff of state-owned papers that they are being punished for their papers' support for Mubarak's regime before his overthrow, in a move by Islamists to stamp their control.
Source: DCMF, AFP