The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has condemned the escalating violence against journalists working in Egypt by “Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, security forces, and ordinary citizens”.
In a Saturday statement, ANHRI detailed the assault against eight journalists covering protests and clashes in Egypt’s streets on Friday.
“Journalists are being subjected to physical assaults at the hands of all the various groups in Egypt,” read the statement. “All of this is the natural result of attempts by all parties to involve journalists in the political struggle for the purpose of getting them to cover events from a singular point of view. This has gone as far as defaming them and accusing them of treason.”
The report covered the specific circumstances of each of the eight journalists who were attacked on Friday at various demonstrations across Cairo.
The most serious injury was sustained by Ahmed Lotfy, reporter for the news website Masrawy. While covering a Muslim Brotherhood march in Maadi, Lotfy was hit with birdshot in the head and chest. He was rushed to the nearby Al-Rayan hospital.
ANHRI spokesman Karim Abdel Radi outlined three specific steps that need to be taken to protect journalists working in Egypt. First, security forces should issue identifying badges to journalists to be worn on their clothing to protect them during clashes and other instances of violence. Secondly, Abdel Radi continued, those who attack journalists should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Lastly, the government, along with private and state-run media, should campaign to educate citizens on the importance of journalism in society.
“ANHRI confirms that Egyptian authorities, along with security forces, are responsible for providing a secure climate for journalists during their coverage of clashes and events, particularly since Egypt has recently become a dangerous place for journalists and media professionals under both escalating societal violence and increased use of violence by security forces,” read the statement.
ANHRI has been tracking the deteriorating conditions for journalists working in Egypt. According to a report released 27 August, eight journalists were killed, 52 were physically assaulted, 27 were arrested and detained, and 13 had their equipment confiscated between 26 June and 26 August.