Violence Aimed at Journalists in Cairo

CAIRO: An Egyptian reporter died after he was shot while covering street
demonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. And correspondents from many countries were attacked when demonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were turned into rioting by pro-Mubarak supporters who took to the streets February 2.

Ahmed Mohammed 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.”

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.

ABCNews has also compiled a list of reporters injured or threatened in Egypt.

And AP names its Egyptian photo team, “Beat of the Week” winners.

A Human Rights Watch researcher and veteran foreign correspondent for many years at the Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post was detained on February 3 and was released on February 4.