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Death of Al-Dostour journalist stirs controversy over journalist safety

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Interior ministry will provide Press Syndicate with 100 bulletproof vests, says syndicate head

Egyptian journalist, Mayada Ashraf poses as she covers a protest of Islamists against ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's presidency bid on March 28, 2014 in the northern neighbourhood of Ein Shams, outside Cairo. Mayada Ashraf, who worked for privately owned Al-Dustour newspaper and freelanced for news website Masr Alarabia, was shot in the head while covering the clashes.   (AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD BAKKAR)

Egyptian journalist, Mayada Ashraf poses as she covers a protest of Islamists against ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidency bid on March 28, 2014 in Ein Shams.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb has agreed to consider Mayada Ashraf, a journalist killed during Friday clashes, as a “martyr of the revolution” eligible for a requisite pension, according to an Saturday announcement by Press Syndicate Head Diaa Rashwan.

Rashwan added the Minister of Interior had agreed to deliver 100 bulletproof vests for journalists who cover violent clashes, state run Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Saturday night.

In a statement on Saturday Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby (Popular Current) party headed by presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahy held the Muslim Brotherhood and “their accomplice Takfiri groups” accountable for the violence, while also noting that “authorities have [often] been responsible for the recent assaults on journalists.”

The party called for an immediate investigation into the case of Mayada Ashraf to determine the “responsible party” for her murder, adding that Ashraf was only “doing her job”.

The party also called on the Press Syndicate to carry out its responsibility to defend the rights and lives of journalists, and to ensure that press institutions provide insurance for journalists who cover dangerous events, as well as the requisite safety.

On Friday Al-Dostour reporter Mayada Ashraf was shot dead during violent clashes between supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi and security forces in the Eastern Cairo suburb of Ain Shams. Hisham AbdelHamid, spokesman for the Forensics Authority within the Ministry of Justice, said in a televised interview that Ashraf had received a fatal shot from the back of her head.

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AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah

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