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Journalists attacked, detained covering protests in Egypt

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Protesters light fires during clashes between supporters and opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood. (AFP/Mohamed el-Shahed)

New York, June 20, 2013--At least four journalists were attacked and two of them briefly detained while covering protests in Egypt on Tuesday, according to news reports that said a Muslim Brotherhood official and supporters were behind the assaults.

"President Mohamed Morsi should call on his supporters to halt attacks against journalists," said Sherif Mansour, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa coordinator. "Although all sides have been involved in anti-press attacks in recent months, Muslim Brotherhood members have been responsible for a disproportionate share."

News accounts reported that Islam al-Khayat, correspondent for news website Veto, and Mosaad Abu Shami, reporter for the state-run daily Ahram El-Messaei, were beaten by who they said were supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Al-Gharbiya governorate. The reports said the journalists were covering assaults on protesters by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Khayat said his camera and laptop were stolen, the reports said. Both al-Khayat and Shami sought treatment at a local hospital for unspecified injuries.

Mahmod Mala, reporter for Al-Watan, and Doaa Abouel Nasr, correspondent for Al-Fager, said they were threatened and beaten with sticks by Waheed Hassan, one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Assiut Governorate, while covering a protest by teachers demanding employment contracts, according to news reports. The journalists, whose injuries were not specified, filed a complaint against Hassan and other Muslim Brotherhood supporters in connection with the alleged attack.

Hassan denied the allegations and filed his own complaint against the two journalists and three others, accusing them of assaulting him, news reports said. No action was taken against Hassan, but Mala and Nasr were interrogated for six hours before being released without bail.

Dozens of Egyptians have been injured in clashes between supporters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood and opposition groups protesting Morsi's appointment of pro-Brotherhood governors, according to news reports. Opposition groups, mobilizing for an early presidential election on the anniversary of Morsi's first year in power, have planned a general strike on June 30.

  • For more data and analysis, visit CPJ's Egypt page.

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