CAIRO: Journalism in Egypt is facing unprecedented challenges, according to a Wednesday report by the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, titled “Has journalism become a crime in Egypt?”
“Sharp polarization, that has not stopped since January 2011, includes the aggressive attitude towards journalists and reporters, holding them responsible for riots and continuing clashes, ” said the organization in its 36-page report, the release of which coincides with the anniversary of the murder of photojournalist Al-Husseiny Abo Deef in 2012.
The association recommended regarding the improvement of the journalism environment in Egypt, starting with the immediate release of all detained journalists, the amendment of all laws and legislations of the press workers, the investigation into the condition of journalists in prison, and to remind the current authority to protect all citizens’ right to freedom of opinion and expression.
The report focuses on five cases of journalists who were detained or arrested while in the course of their work, and included interviews with their friends, families, and lawyers.
Mahmoud Abou Zied, known also as Shawkan, is a photojournalist from Demotix agency, who was arrested during covering Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in, referred to Abu Zaabal prison Aug.17 2013. Shawkan was charged with illegal demonstrating, murder, possession of weapons and Molotov cocktails.
Ahmed Gamal Ziada, a journalist working for Yqeen News, was arrested Dec.28 2013, as he was taking photos of Al-Azhar university demonstrations , as that time there was a lot of demonstrations conducted by the bro-Muslim brotherhood students.
A letter from Ziada published by his family described “mistreatment” he faces inside jail. The Defending Journalists and Freedoms Front issued statement regarding Ziada case Wednesday Dec. 10, rejecting the referral of his case to the terrorism court, and calling for a protest Saturday Dec.13, in conjunction with the first session of his trial.
The Committee to Protect Journalists listed Egypt as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in a December 2013 report.
Al-Husseiny Abo Deef, a photojournalist working for Al-Fajr newspaper, was murdered after being shot with cartouche in his head, as he was covering the Ithadeya clashes in December 2012.
The Committee to Defend Journalists has announced they are planning a candlelight vigil next Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of his death.