Egypt: Unprecedented violence against journalists

Regulation & Policy

On Friday 4 February 2011, Members and supporters of the international press freedom NGO Reporters Without Borders demonstrated outside the Egyptian embassy in Paris at midday today to express their outrage at the systematic use of violence against journalists in Egypt since 2 February.

Chanting “The news is being killed” and “Egypt, stop violence against journalists,” the Reporters Without Borders activists brandished posters showing journalists who have been physically attacked.

“We have come to the Egyptian embassy to denounce the campaign of hate and violence against the international media in Egypt,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. “The photos of journalists who have been injured, beaten, roughed up and arrested testify to an alarming situation of constant harassment designed to stifle news coverage and rid Cairo of the journalists.”

Julliard added: “After censoring the Internet for several days, the authorities are now targeting journalists physically. This is unacceptable and must stop at once.”

Journalists have repeatedly been the targets of violence in a witch-hunt by President Hosni Mubarak’s supporters since 2 February. The list of journalists who have been roughed up, arrested, beaten or assaulted by mobs keeps getting longer. Reporters Without Borders has already expressed its concern about the dangerous climate.

On a separate note, it was reported that three French journalists covering anti-government protests in Egypt were detained by armed men, blindfolded and subjected to hours of interrogation before being released in the middle of the night, their TV station said on Friday. RFI's correspondent in Cairo reports that reporters have been targets of physical attack and harassment.
Reporters Without Borders was pleased that Internet access was restored on 3rd Feb 2011 in Egypt after being blocked for five days, but the organization calls for vigilance.