Al Jazeera Media Network makes good on threat to initiate investment treaty arbitration claim against Egypt

The Al Jazeera Media Network has made good on an earlier threat to sue Egypt for breach of the country’s investment treaty obligations.

Today, a claim by Al Jazeera was formally revealed to have been registered by the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).*

As we’ve previously reported, Al Jazeera had earlier notified Egypt in 2014 of a potential arbitration claim under the Qatar-Egypt bilateral investment treaty.

The dispute between Al Jazeera and Egypt flared up following the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood administration in Egypt in 2013. Egypt’s new government has accused Al Jazeera of advocating for the Brotherhood, and authorities moved to shutter the company’s Egyptian news operation, and to detain and charge certain Al Jazeera journalists.

As we’ve discussed in some detail in an earlier analysis, the claim could raise a host of interesting legal questions, including the extent to which bilateral investment treaties protect the right of legal aliens to engage in political debate and discussion within a host country, the extent to which international human rights norms can be enforced via an investment treaty arbitration, and the potential relevance of an earlier ICSID case where a foreign publisher alleged mistreatment as a result of publishing material critical of the ruling regime in Ukraine.

See that earlier analysis for detailed discussion of each of these issues.

Al Jazeera is represented in its arbitration by the UK law firm Carter-Ruck.


* (UPDATE: In the original version of this article, we indicated that the case was registered today. However, we’ve since clarified that the case was registered yesterday (January 20th), but disclosed only today on ICSID’s website.)