CAIRO: Head of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate Diaa Rashwan said on Tuesday that the Ministry of Defense has provided the syndicate with 50 bulletproof vests and 50 bulletproof helmets for field journalists, Al-Shorouk newspaper reported.
The syndicate will provide the equipment to field reporters and cameramen, along with intensive training regarding how to protect themselves during clashes and protests, before they are assigned to cover street tensions, Rashwan said.
The protective gear will be distributed help prevent gunshot injuries, he added.
The move comes after an increase in the numbers of injuries among journalists while covering clashes or demonstrations. On April 15, two journalists were wounded with live bullets while covering demonstrations between Muslim Brotherhood students and security forces at Cairo University.
Their injuries 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.
Rashwan said also that 30 bulletproof vests and face masks were received from the Interior Ministry, which pledged also to provide the syndicate with an additional 70 bulletproof jackets and 70 face masks to protect against tear gas.
He said he will hold a meeting with the syndicate council and the editors-in-chief of national and independent newspapers Wednesday to inform them of the steps taken by the syndicate, and what was agreed upon with the Ministry of the Interior.
“The journalist’s life during work is the news organization’s responsibility,” Rashwan told The Cairo Post.
Egyptian journalists have faced an increasing amount of violence in recent years while covering protests and clashes. Egypt ranked 159 out of 180 countries in the Press Freedom Index 2014. The index largely takes into account abuses on press freedom and reflects the attacks and violence targeting journalists in the country.
The number of journalists who have been subjected to attacks since the January 25 Revolution, up until April 30, 2013, amounted to 207 journalists, with 31 percent of those attacks occurring during the era of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, according to a study by Almasry Studies and Information Center.