News

December 19, 2011 - Updated on January 25, 2016

Media personnel targeted by military violence in Tahrir Square


Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the military’s indiscriminate crackdown on demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the systematic use of violence against media personnel during the past three days. The chaos in and around Tahrir Square is obstructing access to information, so it is impossible to say exactly how many journalists have been the victims of abuses. The following summary of cases is far from exhaustive. The premises being used temporarily by the Cairo News Company, a TV news agency and production company, in the 8th floor of the Ismailiya Hotel (which is beside Tahrir Square) was raided on 17 December by about 30 soldiers in civilian dress, who behaved violently and threw cameras and other equipment of the window. A CNC source put the damage at around 100,000 dollars but said no one was injured. The CNC was previously targeted by the military in 2008 and during the demonstrations in February 2011. Tom Dale, a freelance photographer based in the same hotel, reported that he and two colleagues saw a member of the armed forces enter their room and steal two cameras. The headquarters of the Egyptian satellite TV station ON TV was raided by the armed forces while it was broadcasting a report on the violence in Tahrir Square. Several cameras were confiscated. CBC’s broadcasting from Cairo was interrupted. Al-Jazeera’s broadcasting was also interrupted by soldiers who destroyed or damaged cameras. The station’s Cairo representative was arrested and held for two hours. Two women journalists working for the independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, Shima Adel and Sara Nureddin, were briefly detained while covering the events in Tahrir Square. US journalist Joseph Mayton, the editor of the Bikiya Masr website, was physically attacked by military police while covering the demonstrations on 18 December. In a post yesterday on the website, he described in detail how he was roughed up and threatened while being for more than 10 hours. Amr Saeed, a reporter for the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, sustained an eye injury when he was attacked while covering clashes on Qasr Al-Ayni Street. Hassan Shaheen, a journalist and activist with the 6 April Movement, was attacked by soldiers when he showed his press accreditation, and was hit in the face and several parts of his body. Ashraf Al-Wardani, a journalist with the pro-government newspaper Al-Masaiya, was briefly detained and beaten near the parliament building. A journalist with the Masrawy website was held for five hours by soldiers who confiscated the photos he had taken. A crew with the French radio station France Culture that had come to Cairo to interview the writer Alaa Al-Aswany was attacked by baltajiyas (pro-government militiamen). Shortly after their arrival in their hotel, the Ismailiya Hotel, they began recording the violence of the soldiers against demonstrators in the nearby Tahrir Square. Half an hour later, they were attacked and beaten by militiamen, who destroyed part of what they had recorded. Reporters Without Borders calls on the Egyptian authorities to put an immediate stop to the violence against media personnel.