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Attacks on journalists continue, says Egyptian rights watchdog

At least 31 violations against journalists in Egypt have been recorded since the start of 2014 by a new watchdog

Ahram Online , Wednesday 22 Jan 2014
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Views: 1942

Violations against journalists in Egypt have continued since the beginning of the year, Journalists Against Torture, a newly established Egyptian rights watchdog, has said.

Thirty one violations – including beatings and arrests – have been observed so far in January, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Nine reporters were beaten or had their equipment seized or broken, 17 were arrested, two were banned from reporting, and three were faced with legal cases, the watchdog said.

Two reporters from Qatar's Al-Jazeera media network were arrested, alongside one from the Associated Press after he was mistaken for an Al-Jazeera employee, and another from the Al-Masdar network, on allegations of protesting and rioting, the statement said.

Egypt accuses Al-Jazeera of backing Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which it declared a terrorist organisation last month.

"The scarecrow of 'terrorism' has been used to prevent journalists and media people from doing their job, or arrest or harass them," general coordinator Ashraf Abbas said.

Only five of those arrested have been freed, according to the rights group.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) listed Egypt among the top 10 worst jailers of journalists in 2013. The top three were Turkey, Iran and China.

Attacks on journalists were not only by the security forces, Abbas added. Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked several journalists during last week's constitutional referendum.

A journalist from Veto news website was attacked by Brotherhood supporters, briefly detained and had his camera broken before he fled, Abbas elaborated.

He urged the authorities to enforce the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and press rights established in Egypt's new constitution to guarantee the protection of journalists on Saturday's third anniversary of the January 2011 uprising.

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