The conflict in Syria, a spike in Iraqi bloodshed, and political violence in Egypt accounted for the high number of journalists killed on the job in 2013. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser
In recent years, Arab journalists have been taking great risks to report important stories in a region where war and civil unrest remain an ever-present threat. Many are operating without proper equipment or safety training in how to recognize and mitigate the various risks they face.
For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China. The number of journalists in prison globally decreased from a year earlier but remains close to historical highs. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser
Dear Counselor Barakat: On November 26, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, a demonstration of the deep level of global concern. The only way to break the cycle of impunity is to bring to justice the killers of journalists, something Egypt has failed to do. Egypt is ranked second on CPJ's list of the deadliest countries for journalists in 2013.
Egypt is going through a tough transition and journalists are paying a considerable toll. Since the July 3 removal of President Mohamed Morsi, at least five journalists have been killed, 30 assaulted, and 11 news outlets raided. CPJ has documented a total of 44 cases of detention, and at least five journalists remain behind bars. The attacks on the press come amid a broad campaign by the interim military-led government to limit coverage of the Muslim Brotherhood and force the media to toe the official line.
Upon receiving the news, Hinostroza told CPJ: "It will be an honor for me to receive this recognition, which will drive me to continue working for freedom of expression in my country and support the different processes that are being developed around the world to defend this right."
Dear Amr Moussa, president of the Constitutional Committee: We urge you to adopt comprehensive reforms that will unequivocally guarantee all Egyptians, including all media, freedom of speech and the right to information.
New York, September 13, 2013--Egyptian authorities should halt their campaign of harassment on local and international journalists seeking to cover the ongoing political crisis in the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The latest series of anti-press violations comes as the Egyptian government announced a two-month extension to the nationwide state of emergency.
New York, September 6, 2013--Military authorities have detained an Egyptian journalist in the North Sinai governorate and accused him of publishing false information on military operations, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Ahmed Abu Deraa's detention and calls on authorities to release him immediately.
Yesterday, the Committee to Protect Journalists launched a campaign calling for serious investigations into the deaths of eight journalists in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011. CPJ hopes that the current military-led government will lead impartial and serious inquiries into the events surrounding the killings no matter who was in power at the time.
New York, August 30, 2013--Egyptian security forces continue to detain and harass journalists working for news outlets critical of the military-led government, particularly Al-Jazeera and its affiliates. Journalists also still face physical threats from protesters, as tensions persist between the government and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
A new English/Arabic online tool is available for citizen journalists who have no previous journalism experience or training but are reporting dangerous frontline stories. It uses animation--a novelty for such guides--and its arrival is timely.
New York, August 19, 2013--New York, August 19, 2013--Several journalists working for international media said they were assaulted or briefly detained over the weekend. The attacks and harassment came as Egyptian authorities publicly accused international journalists of distorting coverage of recent events.
New York, August 16, 2013--Security forces raided and shut down the Cairo offices of Al-Jazeera Arabic following violent clashes that have swept the country, according to news reports. Multiple local and international journalists have also reported being attacked by security forces and protesters.
New York, August 15, 2013--At least two more journalists have been reported killed and several others injured in Wednesday's clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
New York, August 14, 2013--At least one journalist on assignment was among the hundreds killed today in clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, according to news reports. Multiple journalists have also reported being attacked, threatened, or detained.
New York, August 14, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the killing of Sky News cameraman Mick Deane, who was shot as Egyptian security forces attempted to disperse pro-Morsi demonstrations in Cairo today.
Hopes for press freedom were high after the 2011 revolution ousted Hosni Mubarak, led to an explosion of private media outlets, and set the country on a path to a landmark presidential election. But more than two years later, a deeply polarized Egyptian press has been battered by an array of repressive tactics, from the legal and physical intimidation of Mohamed Morsi’s tenure to the wide censorship of the new military-backed government. A CPJ special report by Sherif Mansour with reporting by Shaimaa Abu Elkhir from Cairo
By Sherif Mansour
In June 2012, three days before Mohamed Morsi was declared winner of the presidential election, Bassem Youssef, satirist and host of Egypt’s “Al-Bernameg,” defended the Muslim Brotherhood candidate during an appearance on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” He asked the U.S. audience to give democracy in Egypt a chance. So long as Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood remained accountable to the people and respected human rights, Youssef reasoned, there was no reason they could not lead Egypt’s historic transition to democratic rule.
By Sherif Mansour
The fatal shooting of El-Fagr reporter Al-Hosseiny Abou Deif during clashes between anti-government protesters and Muslim Brotherhood supporters outside the presidential palace last December seemed, at first blush, to fit a sadly familiar pattern: a journalist killed covering a political demonstration, the victim of a stray bullet fired recklessly in the heat of street violence.
By Sherif Mansour
A swarm of police vehicles converged on Media Production City moments after Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi announced on July 3 that Mohamed Morsi had been ousted. The compound outside Cairo is home to nearly every TV station in Egypt, but the police were targeting five particular stations that night: the Muslim Brotherhood-run Misr25, and four pro-Morsi Islamist stations. One by one, the stations’ live coverage went off the air, while police herded and handcuffed about 200 employees, confiscated equipment, and seized cell phones. Taken to a security facility, the employees were interrogated about their associations with the Muslim Brotherhood. Most of the administrative and support workers were released in a few hours, but 22 journalists were kept for more than a day on accusations of conspiring to overthrow the regime.
By Jean-Paul Marthoz
A criminal case that was launched under the previous transitional military government has cast a shadow over the current government, with its implications that international human rights and democracy workers are somehow foreign agents working against national security.
New York, August 13, 2013--At least four journalists have been attacked, threatened, or obstructed while covering sit-ins held by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, according to news reports. The sit-ins began in the lead-up to the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, the reports said.
The Emirati authorities released the Egyptian journalist Anas Fouda on August 4, 2013, after holding him incommunicado without charge for a month, the journalist told CPJ. Security officials told Fouda that his UAE residency was revoked and took him to the Abu Dhabi International Airport, where he flew to Cairo to join his family, Fouda said.
New York, July 25, 2013--Several journalists have reported being harassed, censored, or attacked over the past week in Egypt, according to news reports and local journalists. The incidents come as Egyptian authorities have announced their intentions to abolish prison terms for insult charges.
New York, July 18, 2013--A number of Egyptian journalists have been barred from covering public press conferences and several others have been detained in recent days amid the country's highly polarized political and news media atmosphere, according to news reports.
The unfolding political tumult in Egypt over the past week has not only captured headlines worldwide, it has taken its toll on journalism and reporting as well. While much of the international media turned their attention away from the country over the past year and assumed democracy was marching along, trouble was brewing in the Arab World's most populous nation.
New York, July 9, 2013--Four Turkish journalists in Egypt were briefly taken into military custody today, following an assault on another Turk on Sunday, according to news reports. Separately, an Egyptian journalist was severely beaten by Muslim Brotherhood supporters last week.
New York, July 8, 2013--An Egyptian photographer working for a newspaper affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood was killed today while covering clashes in Cairo, according to news reports. Other local and international journalists have also reported being targeted in the aftermath of last week's ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi.
New York, July 5, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed that Egypt's new military-run government is detaining journalists and censoring news outlets, including those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, despite proclaiming an intention to be inclusive.
New York, July 3, 2013--Authorities in Egypt's new military-run government raided Al-Jazeera's Egyptian station today, disrupting its service, and shut down at least three stations supportive of Mohamed Morsi in a worrying series of moves that seemed designed to cut off coverage of pro-Morsi events, according to news accounts.
From São Paulo to Istanbul to Cairo, coverage of street demonstrations has re-emerged as an exceptionally dangerous assignment for journalists. Since June 1, CPJ has documented more than 120 attacks on the press amid the civil unrest in Brazil, Turkey, and Egypt--the biggest surge of attacks in such circumstances since the uprisings that swept the Arab world in 2011. My colleague Özgür Öğret described the danger in Turkish streets last week, and CPJ issued several alerts on assaults on the press in Brazil. The massive protests in Egypt have already resulted in more than three dozen anti-press attacks, including one fatality, and bring to mind the record-setting violence of two years ago.
New York, July 3, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Egyptian military to refrain from exercising editorial control over state-owned media as the country's political crisis deepens.
New York, July 1, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about the security of journalists covering ongoing mass protests in Egypt. One journalist was killed and six others were injured while covering demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi over the weekend, according to news reports.
New York, June 28, 2013--Egypt's Ministry of Investment sent notice today to all satellite television channels warning they will be shut down if the government deems that their coverage of this weekend's political protests incites violence, insults individuals, or contradicts societal values, news reports said. Numerous journalists are also facing new legal threats in the two days since President Mohamed Morsi blasted independent media in his national address, according to Egyptian news reports, which also described the abduction of an editor.
New York, June 24, 2013--Several journalists were attacked and threatened in Cairo this weekend at a "Say No to Violence" rally organized by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to call on opposition groups to ensure nonviolence on June 30, the day of planned demonstrations and strikes across the country.
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.
The Al-Dokki Criminal Court on May 28, 2013, sentenced Islam Afifi, former editor-in-chief of Al-Dustour newspaper, to a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (US$1,431) after convicting him of libel against Essam al-Eryan, a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Eryan filed a complaint against Afifi after the journalist published a report in June 2012 that alleged that some leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood had held secret meetings to plan violent acts in the event that Morsi did not win the presidential elections.
The editor-in-chief of the daily Al-Watan, Magdy el-Galad, and a reporter for the paper, Ahmed el-Khatib, were referred to a criminal court on May 8, 2013, for publishing a "false report that could disturb public peace," according to news reports.
New York, April 23, 2013--At least 13 journalists were attacked amid clashes between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition Friday in Cairo and Alexandria. Demonstrators supporting the Muslim Brotherhood were calling for reform of Egypt's judiciary, while opposition groups were protesting the Brotherhood and the government it leads.
At least four local Egyptian journalists were physically attacked during a weekend of street violence that began April 5, 2013, according to news reports. The reports said an international journalist was also briefly detained.
New York, April 2, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by news reports that its Middle East consultant, Shaimaa Abulkhair, would be investigated by national security prosecutors in Egypt for comments she made about the widely criticized criminal case against satirist Bassem Youssef.
The government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi continues to escalate its offensive against journalists. Details of the most recent case, in which an arrest warrant was issued for blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah for inciting "aggression" against members of the Muslim Brotherhood, show how low the government is willing to go in order to silence its critics.
New York, March 25, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the violent siege on Sunday of the Media Production City, a complex housing numerous private news outlets in Cairo, an episode that followed a series of inflammatory anti-press comments by President Mohamed Morsi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
New York, March 19, 2013--At least 14 journalists were attacked by police and supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group outside the group's headquarters in Cairo on Saturday and Sunday, according to news reports and local journalists.
Egyptian journalists, besieged by punitive lawsuits and under threat, agree that under President Mohamed Morsi "there is no press freedom, only the courage of journalists," as editor Ibrahim Eissa put it. What they can't agree on is--in a climate of freewheeling, mutable media--who exactly is a journalist?
New York, March 14, 2013--Journalists have come under attack in three separate episodes amid protests in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, in at least two of which police were said to be assailants. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks and calls on authorities to hold all those responsible to account.
New York, February 26, 2013--Egyptian authorities must bring to justice the kidnappers of Mohamed el-Sawi, an online journalist who was found yesterday on a desert road outside the city of Alexandria, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. El-Sawi's colleagues had reported him missing on February 21, two days after he was abducted.
New York, February 25, 2013--Egyptian authorities must do their utmost to determine the whereabouts and ensure the safety of Mohamed el-Sawi, an online journalist who was reported missing on February 21, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ also calls on Egypt to stop using the law to intimidate journalists and prevent them from reporting critically.
A new constitution with restrictive press provisions was approved in late year amid heavy opposition criticism and reports of ballot fraud. CPJ and others criticized articles creating a new government press regulator and establishing new state authority to shut media outlets. The new charter also did nothing to halt the criminal prosecution of journalists, a hallmark of the Hosni Mubarak regime. A reporter covering a rally protesting the new constitution was killed in December when he was struck by a rubber bullet that witnesses said was fired by a Muslim Brotherhood supporter. Several other journalists said they were assaulted while covering similar demonstrations. Other serious violations were reported throughout the year, including a sexual assault and a number of other physical attacks against journalists. Before the election of President Mohamed Morsi in June, the interim-ruling Supreme Council for the Armed Forces carried out a series of Mubarak-era tactics intended to stifle media critical of the military. The tactics included the use of politicized trials and interrogations to intimidate reporters, along with the temporary detention of journalists, two of whom were brutalized in custody. The Shura Council, controlled by the Freedom and Justice Party, took a firm grasp of state media in August, appointing political allies as heads of the institutions. Several journalists working for state newspapers reported that critical articles were being pulled. Although Morsi banned pre-trial detention of journalists, the press remained at legal risk. At least six journalists faced charges of "insulting the president" or "insulting Islam." By late 2012, the prosecutor general was pursuing a series of investigations into independent Egyptian newspapers on accusations of insulting the president or reporting false news.
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The Cairo Administrative Court ordered the government-run National Telecommunication Regulation Authority (NTRA) on February 9, 2013, to ban YouTube for one month after the website failed to remove a video widely considered anti-Islamic, according to news reports. Similar judicial attempts to block websites have been overturned on appeal in the past.
On the second anniversary of Egypt's January 25 revolution, Hosni Mubarak's footprints are still present in many areas of the public sphere--and media are no exception. President Mohamed Morsi needs to cease using Mubarak-era tactics of silencing his critics with criminal charges such as defamation.
New York January 11, 2013--Egyptian authorities are continuing a stream of criminal prosecutions against journalists, despite President Mohamed Morsi's recent pledge to allow free speech. At least three more criminal cases proceeded this week, on top of four that CPJ documented earlier this month.
New York January 3, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a series of investigations into independent Egyptian newspapers on accusations of insulting the president or reporting false news. Some newspapers and media professionals face formal charges in connection to their critical reporting, according to news reports.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.