Egypt's leader: Defaming security forces is 'high treason'

Egypt's president has warned the media that he considers any defamation of the country's security forces to be "high treason."

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's warning Thursday came as security forces enter the fourth week of a campaign against Islamic militants centered in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

The warning came one day after Egypt's chief prosecutor ordered his staff to move against media outlets "hurting national interests."

Since coming to power, el-Sissi has sought to turn most Egyptian media into mouthpieces for his program. Many dissenting television hosts have been pushed off the air, multiple independent news websites have been blocked, and around 20 journalists have been imprisoned.

The government has stepped up its warnings to the media ahead of this month's presidential election, in which el-Sissi faces no serious challenge.