The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned on Tuesday Al Azhar University security’s threatening and intimidation of a journalist for Youm7 private news service who had been trying to cover university clashes.
On Monday, Israa Al-Sherbasy was at Al-Azhar University, where clashes had broken out but “university security raised weapons at her to force her to leave,” the human rights group reported.
She was forced to ride a passing motorcycle. At this point, some students harassed her and ran after her but eventually she was able to escape.
ANHRI said that “preventing the Youm7 journalist from covering the clashes is a new episode in the recent targeting of journalists in Egypt by security forces and is a continuation of the maltreatment of journalists in order to prevent them from carrying out their job.”
ANHRI called on Egyptian authorities to stop targeting journalists and to try to secure them instead of mistreating them. It also called on the Press Syndicate to take the required measures to support and protect journalists and on protesters to stop harassing them.
Earlier this month, two journalists were injured while covering student protests after one was shot in the chest and the other sustained a birdshot injury.
Last month, 22 year old journalist Mayada Ashraf was shot dead while covering student clashes.
In February, Egypt ranked 159th out of 180 listed countries in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index, a report annually released by Reporters Without Borders.
Local and international NGOs have repeatedly put the safety of journalists in Egypt in the spotlight in recent months as conditions for journalists continue to deteriorate. High profile events, like the coverage of the constitutional referendum, have been increasingly risky for journalists, with threats either coming from security forces or protesters.