Two Egypt-based rights organisations condemned on Sunday the violations that some journalists underwent on Saturday during their coverage of the 25 January demonstrations marking the popular uprising’s third anniversary.
A joint operation room, held by Journalists Against Torture (JAT) and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), said it documented 36 violations over the day, ranging from journalists being banned, assaulted and arrested, as well as having their equipment seized.
“These violations were systematic and aimed at obstructing the public from knowing about the truth of the police’s practices against demonstrators,” the operation room said in a statement.
The statement added that “targeting journalists emphasises the police’s lack of respect for the law” and that a journalist covering events should be treated as “a public servant who enjoys legal protection.”
The two groups stressed that Saturday’s violations “represent an explicit clampdown on the rights and freedoms that the state is committed to protect by virtue of the constitution, which was adopted in January .”
It added that the clampdown also came in spite of “international treaties and conventions that Egypt has ratified, namely Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” which guarantees freedom of expression and information.
The statement concluded by urging for the release of the journalists and photographers who were detained yesterday and demanding investigations into what happened.
Source : Ahram