Reporting in Egypt Proved Fatal and Brutal
Monday, 28 February 2011
An Egyptian reporter died after he was shot while covering street demonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. And correspondents from many countries were attacked after pro-Mubarak forces took to the streets, turning the demonstrations into riots. Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud, 36, a reporter for the state-owned newspaper Al-Ta'awun, was taking pictures of the unrest from the balcony of his home when he was shot by sniper fire January 28. He died February 4. The New York Times reported, "Journalists were chased through the streets and had their equipment stolen on smashed. Some were beaten so badly that they required hospital treatment." In two days, the Committee to Protect Journalists received nearly 100 reports of journalists being attacked or detained or their property damaged. The OPC issued a statement that read in part: "The scale and ferocity of the attacks on Egyptian and foreign journalists in the last few days is unprecedented, even in these times when dictators and criminals around the world are attacking the press with seeming impunity."
Lara Logan, 39, CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent, suffered "a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating" in Cairo's Tahrir Square after Mubarak stepped down February 11, the network reported. During the 1 a.m. attack, Logan was stripped of her clothes, punched, kicked and slapped for up to 30 minutes by the crowd celebrating Mubarak's departure, according to The Sunday Times of London. She was beaten with flag poles. As she was being abused, the crowd of roughly 200 men chanted "Spy," "Israeli" and "Jew," apparently believing her to be a spy. Egyptian state media had been reporting that Israeli spies were disguising themselves as television crews. A group of women and several Egyptian soldiers rescued Logan, who is not a Jew, from a mob of more than 200 people who were "whipped into a frenzy," CBS said. Lara was flown to the United States and recovered in a hospital. After she left the hospital, President Obama telephoned her to express his concern over her attack. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was "very concerned" about the attack on Logan, and "The safety and well-being of journalists has been a concern throughout this entire situations in Egypt."
Anderson Cooper of CNN was punched 10 times in the head when he and his crew were attacked by pro-Mubarak demonstrators. Correspondent Serge Dumont of Belgium's Le Soir newspaper was hit in the face, accused of spying and taken to a military post. OPC member Christiane Amanpour of ABC News said she and her crew were surrounded by an angry mob. "They kicked in the car doors and broke our windshield as we drove away," she said. Other correspondents who were attacked by Mubarak supporters included Ahmed Bajano of Al-Arabiya, Mohamed Khayal of Al-Shorouk daily, Danish correspondent Steffen Jensen and Jon Bjorgvinsson of Iceland's national broadcaster RUV, Wall Street Journal photographer Peter van Agtmael, and Petros Papaconstantinou, a reporter for the Greek daily Kathimerini who was clubbed in the head with a baton and stabbed in the foot, either with a knife or a screwdriver.
From Egypt, rioting spread throughout the region. The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was concerned "about the continued assaults on journalists covering anti-government demonstrations in the Middle East." In Manama, Bahrain, ABC News correspondent Miguel Marquez was beaten by thugs armed with clubs around 3 a.m. February 17 while he was covering street demonstrations against the government. Marquez was caught in the crowd when riot police stormed through the city's Pearl Square and four people were killed.
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