Reporters Without Borders roundly condemns police use violence against journalists covering Egypt’s street protests. It is hard to establish exactly how many journalists have been arrested or physically attacked by police officers in the past 48 hours. According to the latest information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, more than a dozen journalists have been arrested.
We urge the Egyptian authorities to allow journalists to work without fear of being arrested or attacked by those who are supposed to protect them. We also call for the immediate release of all the media workers still being held and an end to the blocking of communications. It is essential for the Egyptian people to have access to reliable information about the events of the past few days.
Reporters Without Borders reminds the Egyptian authorities that the United States has urged them not to disrupt online social networks. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton also voiced concern about the arrests of journalists. France has called on Egypt to respect civil liberties including freedom of expression.
Here are details of some of the cases of arrests or attacks on journalists:
- Daily News reporter Mohamed Effat was arrested at around 6 p.m. yesterday and was taken to the Qasr el-Nil police station. He was then transferred to the Nasr City police station.
- Despite having press cards issued by the Egyptian authorities, Associated Press Television News cameraman Haridi Hussein and his assistant, Haitham Badry, were arrested at about 1 a.m. yesterday while filming clashes between protesters and police. They were released this morning.
- AP photographer Nasser Gamal Nasser was covering protests on the evening of 25 January when he struck in the face by a stone thrown by a policeman. His right cheekbone was fractured and his camera was broken.
- Guardian reporter Jack Shenker was detained after being beaten by plain-clothes policemen while covering demonstrations on the evening of 25 January (read his account: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/27/egypt-riot-security-force-action?&).
- Three journalists with the daily Ash-Shourouq – Ahmed Bihnassawi, Ahmed Abdel Latif and Imen Hilal – were roughed up by police officers on the evening of 25 January. Bihnassawi was hit on the head by a policeman who confiscated his camera. Hilal was attacked by a police officer while covering the protests outside the headquarters of the company Sidnawi. The policeman hit him in the face and smashed his photographic equipment.
- Amru Salaheddin, a photographer with the opposition daily Al-Wafd, was arrested today. So too were Ibrahim Mamdouh Siam of Radio Horytna, Samuel Al-Ashy of Reuters and Abdel Rahman Izz ad-Din Imam of Al-Doustour. The police today also arrested Sami Al-Belchy, the deputy editor of the magazine Al-Idhaa wa Al-Tilfaza, Sherif Arif, the deputy editor of Al-Ahrar, and two members of the Journalists’ Syndicate, Mohamed Abdul Quddus and Karim Mahmoud.
Facebook and Twitter are reportedly being blocked intermittently. Telephone communications were blocked today in Suez and the surrounding area because of the many protests being organized in response to the death of three demonstrators in yesterday’s clashes in this port city.