CAIRO: Youm7 video-journalist Esraa el-Shrabasy was allegedly assaulted by a security officer at Azhar University while she was trying to cover students’ protests on Monday, she told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
“I was trying to film with my mobile phone the moment the Ministry of Interior’s forces began entering the campus to contain students’ demonstrations when a man behind me grabbed my phone and kept asking me what I was doing. I yelled that I was a journalist as he kicked me in the back and threw the phone at me,” Sharabasy said.
The reporter identified the man as a member from Falcon Security Company, a private security firm recently hired by the government to monitor a number of university entrances. Shrabasy said her attacker was wearing a shirt printed with the company’s name, and she filed a police report at Nasr City station near the university, upon advice from her direct manager and Youm7’s editor-in-chief Khaled Salah.
“Why didn’t they film the incident? They had their cameras and equipment ready for that,” Walid Fouad, the spokesperson of Falcon Security Company, said in a press statement released Monday denying the incident.
“I was not accompanied by a team, and a few colleagues covering the same event were a little distant but heard me scream,” Shrabasy told The Cairo Post.
Shrabasy added that she has received a call from Falcon’s managing director Major Mohamed el-Shenhaby offering reconciliation and suggesting an apology be made by the company.
“Our job requires us to sneak in since reporters are usually not allowed in universities,” Shrabasy said. “Security at the entrances tells us they are abiding by Interior Ministry rules, and we have tried at least 10 times to enter to speak from someone from the university’s media office.”
Al-Bawaba news website reported Sunday that as clashes erupted between security forces and students of the Cairo University Faculty of Medicine at Qasr al-Aini Hospital, their journalists who were trying to enter the university.
“A senior official at the faculty named Amina Borhamy slapped journalist Iman Ali on the face and took her colleague Ahmed Kamal’s press card and would not return it, in addition to confiscating one of the video reporters’ cameras,” Al-Bawaba said.
The above mentioned assault cases were caused by security’s ban of journalists and photographers to cover certain events.
According to Journalists Against Torture, the bans against journalists include courts, hospitals, universities and even festivals or regular art events.
A source from the organization spoke on condition of anonymity, and said that there were 30 cases in which journalists were not allowed entry in September 2014, and at least another 30 in October, adding that this count excludes cases where the fault is on the journalists, as some major events sometimes previously announce that there will be no media coverage.