Soldiers and children celebrate in Tahrir Square. (AP/Ben Curtis)

Courage in documenting Egypt's revolution

By Mohamed Abdel Dayem/CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator on February 11, 2011 5:14 PM ET

Today, on its 18th day, the Egyptian revolution has finally achieved its goal, deposing Hosni Mubarak and his regime. Egyptian journalists who have courageously found ways to work under the yoke of Mubarak's censorship and repression are releasing a sigh of relief that they've held in for three long decades. 

As CPJ documented in real time over the last couple of weeks, both foreign and local journalists were subjected to an unprecedented campaign of censorship, assaults, detentions, and worse. At least one journalist was killed by uniformed agents while covering the unrest, according to news reports. Journalists also displayed admirable levels of courage as they--initially as individuals and small groups, and eventually in droves--made statements and took actions that exposed them to immense personal and professional risk.

Over the past couple of hours, journalists, foreign and local, are finally able to take out their cameras and notepads and report freely. I just received confirmation that Karim Amer, a blogger and longtime critic of Mubarak who was seized by state agents on Monday, was just released from custody. Amer had recently served a four-year prison term for his writing. That means that all detained journalists whom CPJ had been tracking over the past 18 days are now free.

Here's one of the most moving things I heard today: I was talking to a friend who was demonstrating outside the headquarters of the state broadcaster. In his immediate vicinity was a journalist who, in an effort not to stand out, was discreetly using a small flip-camera to film the scene and a small notepad to take notes. As the official announcement was made that Mubarak had stepped down, the crowd roared in approval. Almost immediately, my friend relayed, a military officer went up to the reporter and handed him a professional camera with a massive lens. The officer said: "We were made to confiscate this camera from a journalist the other day. We had no choice. I don't even know who that guy was and there is no way to track him. You're a journalist; you'll make good use of it. Take it and document the people's revolution."


Bravo and thank you

That is just lovely. What an amazing day. Thank you to all the brave journalists out there for bringing these stories to our homes and keeping us in the loop

I am glad that all are safe again.. And thank you to all, that faced the risks to ensure we could join and be apart of things as they unfolded..
But most of all, for getting the truth out to us..
Thank you

Is there any way that the perpetrators of the violence against the journalists in Egypt could ever be brought to justice? How would an investigator know who was responsible for any specific act?

Great story on the camera.

I think everyone who can needs to consider joining Amnesty International. A part of their focus is working tirelessly to publicize and free imprisoned journalists.

Yes, thanks to all the brave journalists in Egypt, and now in Algeria.

stay strong for what's coming :)

Adrian in Portland February 13, 2011 5:24:39 AM ET

But, as everyone knows, the army is the state. Mubarak's leaving is meaningless. A cynical play. And now they're trying to say to the people of Freedom Square to 'move on' - 'nothing to see here'. Hopefully, the good people of Egypt will ignore this nonsense. But, on the other side, maybe it's too early and this as much as can be accomplished? That is, we must wait for real changes to happen? A false dawn?

The Egyptian revolution won't have been a full success until power moves from the army to civilian hands. The coming weeks and months will be critical. Freedom of the press and freedom of association are the most important immediate issues.

أيها المصريين لقد تناقلت الجزيرة الآن أنه سينعقد مجلس أوروبي أمريكي تتخذ فيه القرارات الآتية اذا لم تتمكن ليبا الى حدود يوم الجمعة المقبل من الاطاحة بالقدافي ستتدخل أمريكيا عسكريا ليس لسواد عين الليبين بل للسيطرة على آبار النفط وللسيطرة أيضا عى تونس ومصر والمنطقة بأسرها وسيكون شكل استعماري جديد لذلك يجب أن تهب هذه الشعوب لرفض هذا التدخل ومساعدة الليبيين في الاطاحة بالقدافي والا فسندخل في كارثة حقيقية.وتأكدوا ان الحكومات العربية ستكون متواطأة في ذلك.أرجوا النشر والاسراع في اتخاذ الحلRédiger

I'm an American Jew living in Tel Aviv. Luckily I was able to cross into Sinai, make a documentary video, and get back safely. You can see my video documentary "Experiencing the Egyptian Revolution" by Samuel Vengrinovich at

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