The International Federation of Journalists Asia-Pacific (IFJ) is concerned by reports that a crew from Pakistan’s ARY TV have been subject to intimidation and surveillance since their arrival in the Egyptian capital Cairo on February 3.
ARY TV’s diplomatic correspondent Tariq Mahmood and cameraman Javed Iqbal had their equipment confiscated by officials upon arriving to Cairo on February 3 to report on the unrest in Egypt for one of Pakistan’s largest television networks. Their hotel booking was also cancelled under suspicious circumstances, leading Pakistani consular officials in Cairo to intervene and find the men alternative accommodation.
Mahmood and Iqbal have also reportedly been intimidated and chased by an unidentified group of people, who threatened them with “dire consequences” if they tried to report on the protests in the Egyptian capital. They also believe their movements are being monitored by suspicious individuals at their hotel.
The news comes as the international community has moved to condemn the violent turn to protests in Egypt, in which Egyptian journalist Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud was killed on February 5.
The attacks and restrictions on the ARY TV crew come after IFJ affiliate the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance’s condemnation of an apparently deliberate strategy by the Mubarak administration to target journalists. It came as reports emerged on February 4 that an Australian Broadcasting Corporation crew had been attacked by government supporters.
The IFJ has called upon affiliate unions to participate in a global solidarity campaign as reports continue to emerge that journalists and media workers are being attacked, harassed and imprisoned by demonstrators and security forces in a deliberate attempt to stifle free speech and the public’s right to know.
The US State Department has described the arrest of more than 20 foreign journalists and reports of violence and intimidation against dozens more as a “concerted campaign to intimidate” international media.
Mark Corcoran and an ABC film crew reporting for program Foreign Correspondent were set upon by a gang of pro-government thugs on February 3 while the public broadcaster’s Middle East correspondent, Ben Knight, was also threatened.
Shamsul Islam Naz
PAKISTAN FEDERAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS
Cellular +92(0)300 8665523