Journalists in Egypt Protests Targeted, Beaten, and Detained

bbc Journalists in Egypt Protests Targeted, Beaten, and DetainedEven with the Internet and some telecommunications down, many reports are coming out of Cairo that journalists are being targeted among the protestors by police.

Assad Sawey, a BBC journalist, was beaten by Egyptian police and then went on air in his bloodied shirt. When the police saw his camera, he was beaten and electrocuted with steel bars. Although he argued for transportation to a hospital, he said that other foreign journalists were being carted off in trucks to an unknown location.

The Guardian‘s Jack Schenker was punched repeatedly by plainclothes state security officers and high-ranking uniformed officers. He was captured with about 40 other protestors and dropped in the middle of the desert. He was only released because he happened to have been captured with a high-profile politician’s son who negotiated their release.

We were hustled towards a security office on the edge of the square. As I approached the doorway of the building other plainclothes security officers milling around took flying kicks and punches at me, pushing me to the floor on several occasions only to drag me back up and hit me again. I spotted a high-ranking uniformed officer, and shouted at him that I was a British journalist. He responded by walking over and punching me twice. “Fuck you and fuck Britain,” he yelled in Arabic.

AP photographer Nasser Gamil Nasser had his right cheekbone shattered when a policeman saw his camera and hurled a stone at his face.

Of course the violence is not reserved for international journalists. At least six Al-Masry al-Youm staffers have been roughed up, including Lina Attalah, the managing editor of Al-Masry al-Youm’s English edition. “Four policemen pulled me by my hair and kicked me in my face and back,” Attalah told the Committe to Protect Journalists. Al-Jazeera correspondent Mustafa Kafafi was also beaten, CPJ writes. Yesterday the English language weekly Al Ahram had firsthand reports from beaten and detained journalists but the site is down now.

kstoeffel@observer.com :: @kstoeffel