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Middle East & North Africa

2011

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CPJ's executive director lays out "What Is at Stake With Egypt's Media Crackdown" in a February 3 piece on the Huffington Post. Joel Simon writes: "With no witnesses, those undertaking the violence in Egypt will have a free hand to carry out their brutal campaign without restraint. Standing up for the rights of journalists at this crucial moment may be our last, best hope of stemming an impending bloodbath that could go down in history as the gravest example of political repression." Read the rest of his article here.

CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem spoke to Democracy Now! on February 5 about the deteriorating environment for journalists in Egypt. He told host Amy Goodman that state news outlets have become something unrecognizable: "State-owned media are no longer engaged in the business of news," Abdel Dayem said. "They are there to propagate things that are simply not true. " See the rest here:

Protesters gather around army vehicles in Cairo's Tahrir Square. (Reuters)

New York, February 7, 2011--Egyptian authorities have shifted their strategy for obstructing the press as protests enter their 14th day: The military has become the predominant force detaining journalists and confiscating their equipment rather than plainclothes police or government supporters, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities have also put in place new bureaucratic obstacles for journalists covering the anti-Mubarak protests on Tahrir Square, with the military instructing reporters to seek new press credentials from the government.

An Egyptian general walks through protests in Tahrir Square. (AP)

New York, February 5, 2011--As journalists face ongoing attacks and detentions in Cairo, they are increasingly concerned that state broadcasts are creating an atmosphere that is encouraging violence against the media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. State television and radio, along with pro-Mubarak private stations, are giving frequent airtime to presenters and guests who claim that foreigners, including international journalists, have a "hidden agenda" against the government, according to CPJ research. Local journalists have been called "infidels" for working with international media while Al-Jazeera has been accused of "inciting the people." 

AP photographer Khalil Hamra is injured in Tahrir Square on Thursday. (AP Photo/Mohammed Abed)New York, February 4, 2011--Journalists in Cairo faced assaults, detentions, and threats again today as supporters of President Hosni Mubarak continued their efforts to obstruct news coverage of protests demanding the Egyptian leader's ouster. While the extent of attacks lessened after a peak on Thursday, ongoing anti-press activities remain at an alarming level that must be halted, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In addition, a journalist shot a week ago while filming a demonstration died today, a state newspaper reported, and Al-Jazeera reported that security agents detained the network's Cairo bureau chief along with another journalist.

SIPA Press agency photojournalist Alfred Yaghobzadeh is treated by anti-government protesters after being wounded during clashes in Cairo. (AP)

New York, February 3, 2011--Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak unleashed an unprecedented and systematic attack on international media today as his supporters assaulted reporters in the streets while security forces began obstructing and detaining journalists covering the unrest that threatens to topple his government. 

Outside the Journalists' Syndicate in Cairo. (AP)

New York, February 2, 2011--Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak have begun violently attacking journalists reporting on the streets of Cairo today, a shift in tactics from recent media censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. CPJ calls on the Egyptian military to provide protection for journalists.

"The Egyptian government is employing a strategy of eliminating witnesses to their actions," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "The government has resorted to blanket censorship, intimidation, and today a series of deliberate attacks on journalists carried out by pro-government mobs. The situation is frightening not only because our colleagues are suffering abuse but because when the press is kept from reporting, we lose an independent source of crucial information."

Egypt rejoins the Net

Internet connectivity has been restored to Egypt, though it's hard to tell from the outside just how reliable that connection is. Monitoring organizations Renesys and BGPMon provide technical details on their blogs. For a more dynamic display, RIPE, the community which helps co-ordinate the European Internet, has a live graph of the numbers of Internet routes to Egypt which currently shows the country's return.

What the Internet loses from Egypt's disappearance

Last night at 20:54 UTC, Noor Group, the only remaining Internet service provider in Egypt with a consumer broadband service, depeered with the rest of the Internet. There are now only 12 Egyptian networks connected to the Net, none of which appear to be offering public connections.

Journalists remain hampered by lack of phone and Internet service, but Egyptians are finding their own ways to get the news in Cairo. (AP)

As massive protests endure throughout Egypt, the regime continues to disrupt the media as well as phone and Internet service. CPJ is closely following the censorship of the news, and will update on our blog today as developments break. Here's what's new:

2011

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