The Federal Government has expressed concern about the conditions for journalists in Egypt, following reports that four Australian journalists were detained in Cairo at the weekend.
The Australian's John Lyons and Fairfax's Jason Koutsoukis were held for questioning after being stopped at a military checkpoint shortly before 10pm on Sunday. They were detained along with two German newspaper reporters.
In accounts published on their respective organisations' websites, Lyons and Koutsoukis said that their passports and mobile phones were confiscated. After initially being taken to an army station, they were blindfolded and driven to a separate facility where they were questioned, supposedly for their "personal safety".
Two ABC employees were also reported to have been detained in a separate incident.
The foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd said that he would again speak to the Egyptian government about the incidents, ABC News reports.
"There are widespread reports of the temporary arrest, incarceration of journalists, including some Australians. I have already engaged on this with the Egyptian foreign minister and I'll be doing so again very soon," he said.
"We take seriously the freedom of the press and the proper protection afforded foreign journalists, including in the most difficult war zones in the world and conflict zones like we have in Egypt at the moment."
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Sunday that it had documented more than 140 direct attacks on journalists or news facilities. It also condemned "new bureaucratic obstacles" designed to make obtaining press credentials harder.