When the army ousted Morsi on 3 July, Reporters Without Borders urged the new interim government to respect its initial route map by quickly moving to “a new constitution that fully respects human rights, including freedom of information, and to free and democratic presidential and parliamentary elections with respect for pluralism.”
Since 3 July, a total of five journalists have been killed, 80 journalists have been arbitrarily detained (with seven still held) and at least 40 news providers have been physically attacked by the police or by pro-Morsi or pro-army demonstrators.
These violations of freedom of information have taken place in a highly polarized political environment that has made the situation extremely difficult and dangerous for journalists.
Reporters Without Borders said it condemns the climate of violence and political persecution in which both local and foreign journalists now have to operate in Egypt.
“It is unacceptable that journalists are continually being targeted,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Reporters must be able to work without their lives being put in danger, regardless of the political fault lines. We deplore the passivity of the new Egyptian authorities and we urge them to react quickly by taking concrete measures to guarantee journalists’ safety and respect for freedom of information.”
Reporters Without Borders points out that media coverage of the events taking place in Egypt is essential for understanding the complexity of the situation on the ground.
Meanwhile, Egyptian security forces continue to detain and harass journalists working for news outlets critical of the military-led government, particularly Al-Jazeera and its affiliates, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists(CPJ) . Journalists also still face physical threats from protesters, as tensions persist between the government and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
The Ministry of Investment on Thursday August 29, 2013 said it would ban Al-Jazeera Mubashir, the network’s Egyptian affiliate, because it lacked the required legal permits, according to news reports. The statement accused the channel of “spreading lies and rumors damaging to Egyptian national security and unity.” Today, the Ministry of Interior issued a statement saying it had confiscated two broadcasting cars and equipment from Al-Jazeera Mubashir.
On Tuesday August 27, Egyptian security forces detained without charge four staff of Al-Jazeera English, including correspondent Wayne Hay, cameraman Adil Bradlow, and producers Russ Finn and Baher Mohammed, the station reported. Al-Jazeera Arabic correspondent Abdullah al-Shami and Al-Jazeera Mubashir cameraman Mohamed Bader had been arrested earlier this month while covering protests and held under charges of “threatening national security” and “possessing weapons,” respectively.
Six of the 10 journalists in custody in Egypt are from Al-Jazeera and its affiliates, according to CPJ research.