Sunday, August 4, 2013

It is hard to be a journalist in #Egypt nowadays

It is hard to be a journalist in Egypt those days. It is not about highly polarized atmosphere where truth is lost and fingers of accusations are always pointing to you. It is not about freedom of expression only not but it is about the basic safety demand. Egyptian journalists are now attacked by all parties involved.
The Muslim brotherhood supporters and members attack Egyptian journalists and photographers and Anti-Muslim brotherhood supporters also attack Egyptian journalists. The Egyptian security forces also do what they always do and attack Egyptian journalists.
The Muslim brotherhood say that the Egyptian media does not cover their protests and their sit ins , well the Egyptian media representatives from reporters and photographers have been attacked over and over in their sit ins. Here are some examples and testimonies , I managed to collect.
On last 3 July talented photographer and friend Mosa’ab El Shamy was in Raba’a sit in while El Sisi was saying his famous speech ousting Morsi. Mosa’ab was taking photos for their reactions when some of them got suspicious and asked what he was doing and why he was taking photos for men while crying. Sooner he was attacked and two of his lenses were broken. He was also taken to the stage. Later the MB officials knew who he was and apologized for what happened. 
Photographer Mohamed Shahab was also attacked and beaten at Rabaa  in the early of the days of the sit in. TV reporters also attacked and banned from coverage there.
Of course this is the tip of the ice berg because now journalists pay their lives for covering clashes like late Ahmed Assam who was shot in the Republican Guards Club. It is believed that Assam filmed his shooter in what it could be one of the strangest and saddest coincidences in life.
Photojournalist Mahmoud Badr  of Al Jazeera is still detained after being arrested in Ramses clashes while doing his job. He is currently accused of thuggery and possessing arms. People do not speak about him or care about him that much because he works in Al Jazeera.
Video journalist Menna Alaa was attacked by Morsi supporters while she was covering their mess protests on 19 July. It is worth to mention that Gehad El Haddad apologized to her after the news spread like fire.
On the same day Al Shorouk newspaper journalist Nada El Kholy was attacked by Anti-Morsi supporters in old Cairo.The young reporter was covering a Pro-Morsi rally in the popular area of El Zeitoun when she was attacked by thugs who thought that she was a MB supporters.
The thugs thought that she is a MB supporters because she was wearing a black Abaya !!!!

El Kholy who is also living in El Zeitoun was praying the Tarawih prayers and that's why she was wearing a black Abaya.As soon as the prayers finished , she heard in the street the sound of firearms near her house. She knew that there were clashes between the Pro-Morsi rally and the locals. She hurried up with her camera. What she saw actually was not clash between protesters and locals but rather protesters and thugs who attacked the Pro-Morsi rally chanting against El Sisi and so on. The thugs were holding swords and sticks.

As soon as she began filming , a thug held her arm violently saying "Who are you ? You look like MB , are you one of them ??" and attempting to take the camera from her hand. Resisting that thug she found herself surrounded by several thugs. One those thugs told her "give me this camera or I will cut you in pieces" giving her no other option and hitting her on her face with a screwdriver.
Her camera was stolen while her lens was smashed.Nada was saved by one of her relatives who had his share in this beating as well. The young journalist reported the incident in the police station and it turned out that they are known in the area as thugs.

Nada did not reveal to those thugs her identity as a journalist , they only attacked her because she was filming what they were doing while wearing a black Abaya !!
Video Journalist Haleem Shaarani was also attacked while covering the Unknown solider memorial massacre by the police and his photos were erased last 27 July. Shaarani knew that on the same night a foreign reporter was arrested by the police as well.

Al Shorouk photographer  Sabry Khaled physically assaulted in Rabaa sit in next day 28 July and MB official spokesperson for foreign media Gehad El Haddad witnessed the whole thing.

On the same day another Al Shorouk reporter was attacked in Al Nahda sit.
Ironically  currently Al Shorouk newspaper is accused of being a Pro-Morsi newspaper thanks to its editor in chief Wael Qandil who is known for his support to Morsi and was not shy for calling what happened as a coup.
Last 1 August Al Masry Al Youm photographer Tarek Wajeh was on an assignment to snap shots for the barricades the MB made at Rabaa when he was stopped by the sit in security and was accompanied to the media center set up by the brotherhood. The MB boys did not only delete all the photos but assaulted him and took his camera.
It is worth to mention that MB youth star Ahmed Mogheer took his camera and kicked him out of the center.
Late MB officials returned back the camera to Wajeh but without the memory card.
This is what happened to Egyptian journalists , of course the foreign journalists are more than welcomed in Rabaa. By the way the MB officials also rarely speak to Egyptian journalists and prefer to talk to the foreign media.
Of course foreign media got another problem , they are regarded as spies especially when they are freelancers. Last week I read about this freelance photographer who was handed over to the intelligence by a taxi driver because he wanted to go to Rabaa.
Speaking about what happening to reporters , I can not ignore what is happening to newspapers as well TV channels when it comes to freedom of expression and coverage too.
After the circus that took place at the army’s presser right after the Republican Guards where Al Jazeera crew found them unwelcomed and had to leave , later weeks both Al Jazeera and Turkish Andolu News agency found themselves unwelcomed to cover presidency activities. I heard also that bearded reporters are not welcomed anymore ,I am not sure though.
Presidential advisor for media Mohamed Muslimany got new nationalist rules for presidential media for sure !!!

Last July 29,2013 we found out that the op-eds of Wael Qandil and Al Jazeera TV host and MB figure Ahmed Mansour are not published in the printed edition of the newspaper last week. The justification the newspaper published on that day was interesting : We apologize for not publishing the op-eds after the recommendation of our legal team !!

Freedom and Justice portal published the banned Qandil's op-ed which was actually a poem attacking El Sisi indirectly. On Saturday we knew that the name of Qandil will not be included as editor in chief of the newspaper starting from Sunday’s issue. It seems that the owner of the newspaper Ibrahim El Mollam is going to sacrifice Qandil.
Amazingly we got names of MB critics like Bassem Youssef and Balel Fadl writing too in the privately owed Al Shorouk newspaper.

The religious TV channels are also closed despite Ahrar 25 of the MB is airing 24 hours from Rabaa. It is worth to mention that all officials in Egypt said that the channels will be closed temporarily.You know what is interesting is that most of those religious TV channels are Salafist that are close to the state security.
Another thing if it were about incitement , well I am afraid there are TV channels that are excelling in opposite incitement against Islamist, Palestinians and Syrians altogether spreading hate , rumors and ignorance as well. What is the big difference between them and the radical Islamist TV channels ??

Among the 25 January revolution's goals a thing called Freedom and Freedom includes Freedom of expression. If the 30 June is truly an extension to 25 January for real than Freedom of expression should be supported by the people before the government.

In the end the Muslim brotherhood fought freedom of expression as much as they could using law as well incitement , I do not think that we should not repeat their mistakes and try to shut all those who are opposing our views.

1 comment:

  1. Hi!
    I'm Japanese, 28 years old.
    I have so many questions to Egyptian young people.

    What do Egyptian people want now?

    and, especially Egyptian young journalist,
    what they want?

    Ahmed Assem Senousy had worked as photographer of Al-Horia Wa Al-Adala, from the 2011 revolution.
    His family had opposed his joining to MB.
    but Ahmed Assem had done it.

    Why Ahmed had joined to MB?
    what he wanted to do as photographer?

    why they film and take a photo,
    after that, up to internet.

    they want us to know what happen in Egypt?

    I want to know what Egyptian young journalist want at the risk of his life.

    young people is next future in Egypt.
    so their decision is most important in your country.

    Please tell me your opinion.

    thanks a lot in advance


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