Egypt's Journalists Syndicate head calls for a freeze in field coverage

Ahram Online , Monday 14 Apr 2014

Plea comes after two journalists were shot and injured while covering clashes at Cairo University on Monday

Egypt's Journalists Syndicate head Diaa Rashwan (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The head of Egypt's Journalists' Syndicate Diaa Rashwan has called for a halting of reporting in the field after two journalists were injured by gunfire while covering clashes between police and pro-Muslim Brotherhood students on Monday.

Both Khaled Hussein and Amr Abdel-Fattah, journalists with private media outlets, sustained injuries from gunshots while covering clashes at Cairo University on Monday. A student, Mohamed Adel, was shot and killed.

Rashwan's plea comes after months of complaints by journalists who accuse both the police and supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi of targeting them. The violence has occasionally been fatal to news gatherers – just last month a 22-year-old journalist, Mayada Ashraf of El-Dostour newspaper, was killed while covering similar clashes.

Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated, Rashwan told Al-Ahram's Arabic newspaper. He called for a demonstration on Thursday to protest Ashraf's death and injuries to other journalists in the last few months.

Hussein, one of the journalists injured on Monday, was shot in the chest, according to reports from Youm 7, the newspaper where he works.

In 2013, the US-based NGO Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Egypt as the third-deadliest country in the world for journalists. Egyptian journalists have staged several protests calling for protection while on the job since the clashes between security forces and Morsi supporters have become more frequent.

Rashwan said he had called for newspapers to put field reporters on contract – the only way for them to become part of the syndicate and, accordingly, enjoy the syndicate's backing and protection.

He added that an operations room is being set-up in the syndicate to follow field reporters and provide commissioned safety workshops for journalists.

The syndicate filed a complaint at the prosecutor's office on Monday to investigate Hussein and Abdel-Fattah's injuries.

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