Defense minister to provide bulletproof vests to journalists: press syndicate
Diaa Rashwan - YOUM7/Ahmed Ismail

CAIRO: The defense minister approved a request by the Press Syndicate to provide bulletproof vests to journalists, Press Syndicate head Diaa Rashwan told The Cairo Post on Wednesday.

The details of the supplies will be announced Thursday, Rashwan added.

The move comes after an increase in the numbers of injuries among journalists while covering clashes or demonstrations. On Monday, two journalists were wounded with live bullets while covering demonstrations between Muslim Brotherhood students and security forces at Cairo University.

The injury of the two journalists followed the death of a 22-year-old journalist, Mayada Ashraf, who was shot dead during clashes between Brotherhood supporters and security forces in Ain Shams on March 28.

“The journalist’s life during work is the news organization’s responsibility,” Rashwan said.

In response to  mounting criticism against the syndicate, Rashwan said, “the criticism is a good thing for the syndicate as it shows that journalists are waiting more from the syndicate.”

He said the syndicate’s role is to pressure regimes to provide journalists’ rights. He said the syndicate is organizing a vigil Thursday at the Press Syndicate to confirm its work to provide protection to journalists after the death of Ashraf and the injury to journalists Monday.

But, in reality, “the powers of the syndicate are limited,” he said.

Rashwan added that he met with the prime minister Wednesday to address journalist woes ranging from a lack of protection to mounting violations against them.

Journalists in Egypt have faced an increasing amount of violence in recent years while covering protests and clashes.

In Reporters Without Borders’ 2014 Press Freedom Index, Egypt ranked 159 out of 180 countries in terms of press safety.

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