H.E. Ahmed Shafiq
Arab Republic of Egypt
I write on behalf of the International Federation of Journalists, representing 164 unions and associations comprising 600,000 journalists, to protest in the strongest terms against the attacks by supporters of your President on journalists covering the events in Egypt.
According to our affiliate unions and press reports, we were informed of the violent targeting of journalists:
• Ahmed Bajano, an Al-Arabiya correspondent in Cairo, and his camera crew were attacked in Mustafa Mahmoud Square by security men in plainclothes. He suffered a concussion and was taken to a nearby hospital.
• Al-Arabiya's Cairo office was attacked and its windows broken
• Another network reporter, Ahmad Abdel Hadi, was seized by pro-Mubarak supporters near Tahrir Square, forced in a car, and driven away.
• The headquarters of Al-Shorouk in Cairo was attacked by a group described as "plainclothes police". Reporter Mohamed Khayal and photographer Magdi Ibrahim were injured.
• Belgian journalist Maurice Sarfatti, who works as a Middle East correspondent for the Brussels-based Le Soir, Geneva-based Le Temps, and French newspaper La Voix du Nord, was beaten and arrested by soldiers while on assignment in Shubra in central Cairo.
• CNN's Anderson Cooper and his crew were attacked by pro-Mubarak supporters in Tahrir Square.
• Two unnamed Associated Press correspondents were roughed up while covering a pro-Mubarak group.
• Danish senior Middle East Correspondent Steffen Jensen was beaten up by pro-Mubarak supporters with clubs while reporting live on the phone to Danish TV2 News from Cairo.
• BBC’s correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes had his car forced off the road in Cairo. He was then detained by the men, who handed him off to secret police agents who handcuffed, blindfolded and took him to an interrogation room. He was released after three hours.
• A correspondent for RUV, Iceland's national broadcaster, Jon Bjorgvinsson, was attacked on Tuesday as he was filming with his crew. He was knocked to the ground, his camera broken, and his clothes ripped.
• Three Al Jazeera journalists were arrested by Egyptian secret police. Al-Jazeera continues to face pressure from the government-owned Nilesat satellite provider. Another private media hub, Jordanian Media City is receiving similar threats.
• Swedish TV correspondent Bert Sundström has disappeared, feared abducted while his colleague Sid Ahmed Hammouche, special envoy of Liberté newspaper was arrested today and is being held by security forces, according to his employers who have lost contact with him.
• Foreign photographers are bearing the brunt of many assaults from pro-Mubarak demonstrators. One Greek photographer was stabbed in the leg.
• Leila Fadel, the Washington Post Cairo bureau chief, and Linda Davidson, a photographer, were among more than 20 journalists arrested this morning by the Egyptian interior ministry. They are currently in custody.
These were the first incidents to be reported and, as the situation continues to worsen, we fear that many more will follow. It is clear that these are part of a premeditated and concerted campaign to attack and intimidate journalists and prevent them from reporting.
We note your apologies regarding these attacks and your offer to hold an investigation. We hold your government responsible for the safety of all these journalists and insist these attacks must stop forthwith.
International Federation of Journalists, International Press Centre,
Résidence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue De La Loi, B1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 235 2200 Fax: +32 2 235 2219 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org