WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Press Club condemned the continuing violence against journalists in Egypt and called for the country's military-backed government to ensure news media aren't targeted for doing their jobs.
Egyptian security forces killed Tamer Abdel Raouf, Beheira bureau chief for the newspaper Al-Ahram, and wounded Hamid al-Barbary, Beheira bureau chief of the Al-Gomhuria newspaper, at a military checkpoint on Aug. 19, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The two were stopped in a car, told to turn around, then fired upon when they drove away, according to al-Barbary. Raouf was the fifth documented news media fatality in a week.
In a separate incident, authorities raided the Turkish news agency Ihlas, confiscated broadcast equipment and arrested its Cairo bureau chief, Tahir Osman Hamde, a Dutch citizen.
"The Egyptian government appears to be targeting both domestic and foreign journalists for no reason other than they are reporting the news,'' National Press Club President Angela Greiling Keane said. "There is a desperate need for the Egyptian people to know what's happening as unrest grips the country. The regime's open and violent crackdown suggests they want to keep their citizens in the dark.''
The National Press Club again called on Egyptian authorities to carry out an investigation into each of the incidents where journalists were killed, harmed or arrested and to take action against those responsible.
Today's statement follows a report last week that the government-ordered violence resulted in the deaths of at least four journalists and the shooting, beating and detainment of many others.
Aug. 14 was the deadliest day on record for journalists in Egypt, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Ahmed Abdel Gawad, an employee of the government-run Al-Akhbar newspaper is understood to have been shot to death while covering the Egyptian police crackdown at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in Nasr City. Photojournalist Mosaab al-Shami of the local Rassd News Network reportedly was killed by a sniper as he tried to flee the violence at the mosque. Longtime cameraman Mick Deane of the British Sky News network was also killed by gunfire while documenting the mosque raid.
A fourth journalist was killed at the mosque, though that reporter, Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, was not on assignment at the time of her death, according to information provided to CPJ by her employer, Gulf News.
Other reports have come in of more journalists suffering nonfatal gunshot wounds. Daily Beast/Newsweek foreign correspondent Mike Giglio wrote a first-hand account of his experience being brutally assaulted by security forces and briefly detained with other media workers while he attempted to cover the raid on Rabaa Al-Adawiya.
The National Press Club's Press Freedom Committee leads Club efforts to speak out about potential threats to press freedom and open government in the United States and abroad and to promote greater transparency and protections for journalists.
The Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. Founded in 1908, it comprises some 3,000 reporters and news sources.
CONTACT: Jeff Plungis
SOURCE National Press Club