While we watch the renewed riots in Egypt with horror, I wanted to publish this statement from the Committee to Protect Journalists. We journalists are not particularly special, and I know that plenty of freelancers will head into the area to make their name in conflict journalism, but the general disregard for life, from the little online footage I’ve seen, is sickening. The CPJ published similar statements during the February revolution, though the best-known case will be the assault on the US female journalist, Lara Logan.
York, November 21, 2011 – Clashes
between security forces and protesters in Cairo and other Egyptian cities have led to at least 17 assaults
on the press over the past couple of days, including a shooting, detentions,
and a beating by unidentified security personnel while in custody. The
Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks and calls on authorities
to bring them to an immediate end.
Since Saturday, Cairo’s Tahrir
Square has been
occupied by protesters demanding an end to military rule. They were met by
security forces firing live and rubber ammunition, deploying tear gas bombs,
and assaulting scores of people, according to news reports. As of Monday, at least 33 people
had been killed and thousands injured as a result of the clashes, several news
outlets reported.
Today, Maher Iskandar, a
photographer for the daily Youm7, was shot in the left leg while filming
clashes in Tahrir Square, the daily reported. Iskandar was taken to a field hospital
in close proximity to the central Cairo square.
Military and police units
attacked at least 10 journalists in and around Tahrir Square on Sunday, Karem Mahmoud, secretary-general of Egypt’s press syndicate, told CPJ. The journalists include:
Rasha Azab, editor for the independent Al-Fagr; Omar al-Zohairi and
Motaz Zaki, both photographers for the independent daily Al-Tahrir;
Mahmoud al-Hefnaoui, editor for Youm7; Mohamed Kamel, an editor for the
independent daily Al-Masry al-Youm and Adanob Emad, Tarek Wageeh, and
Ahmed Abd al-Fattah, all photographers for the same independent daily; Amr
Gamal, an editor for the website Al-Hurriya wa Al-Adala, a nascent youth
group; and Saad Abid, a freelance photographer.
Abd al-Fattah, who
sustained an eye injury, and Azab were still recovering from their
injuries in hospital today, according to the syndicate. Gamal and Zaki were
detained for several hours, the syndicate said.
In Alexandria on Sunday, police attacked six journalists, one of whom
was taken into detention for six hours and repeatedly beaten, Mahmoud told CPJ.
That reporter, Sarhan Sinara with the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, was
assaulted and detained by unidentified security personnel, then repeatedly
beaten with a club, Mahmoud said. Sinara is recovering from his injuries at
The five other journalists who
were assaulted and suffered injuries in Alexandria on Sunday are: Ahmed Tarek,
an editor for the official Middle East News Agency; Ahmed Ramadan, a
photographer for Al-Tahrir; Mohamed Fuad and Essam Amer, Alexandria
office director and editor, respectively, for Al-Shorouk; and Rafi
Mohamed Shakir, a photographer for Al-Shorouk, the syndicate told CPJ
and said in a statement released today.
The six journalists attacked in Alexandria submitted a formal complaint today to prosecutors accusing
the chief of the Alexandria Security Directorate of being responsible for the
physical assaults, local media reported. The complaint says that Sinara was
repeatedly beaten before and after he brandished his credentials and identified
himself as a journalist. He was also prevented from taking medication for the
duration of his time in custody, the reports said.
The military leadership has
offered no explanation regarding the attacks on journalists.