Journalists harassed in run-up to second round of legislative elections
Monday, November 14,2005 00:00
By Reporters Without Borders(RWB)

Journalists harassed in run-up to second round of legislative elections

Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned the use of violence to intimidate journalists since the opening of the first round of Egyptian legislative elections on 8 November 2005.

The worldwide press freedom organisation called on the Egyptian authorities to carry out thorough and serious investigations after several journalists were harassed or assaulted by the security services or by masked armed groups.

"We urge the authorities to see to it that the law is respected and that journalists are allowed to carry out news-gathering in complete freedom and safety”, it said.

“Crude and brutal intimidation of journalists should have no place in Egypt. We also call on President Hosni Mubarak to act to halt this harassment,” it said.

Ahmad Mansur, of al-Jazeera TV in Cairo and presenter of the programme "Bela hudud" (Without borders) on the same station, was brutally beaten by two men in front of this office in the Egyptian capital on the evening of 9 November. After checking his identity, the two men beat him, breaking his glasses and leaving him with a neck injury before fleeing. He has been vocal in his criticism of the Egyptian head of state.

On 13 November, Heba al-Qudsy, of the Arab-language daily Asharq al-Awsat, was beaten up by a group of men while covering a demonstration in Bulak Abu el-Ela, in the suburbs of Cairo. They also snatched his camera.

Manar Khater, of the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Yum was prevented from covering incidents following voting irregularities in the El Dokki district in Giza Province. Dina Gamil, of the weekly Al-A’alam Al-Yum was also prevented from attending the count in the same province. Crews working for BBC et al-Jazeera have also had trouble doing their job.