From the President
Brussels, 4th February 2011
I write to ask you to join us in our effort to stop the attacks against journalists in Egypt. As you may be aware, dozens of journalists were arrested, attacked and beaten yesterday in one of the biggest witch-hunts against journalists in recent years. In several cities, the Egyptian government and its supporters embarked in a violent campaign to intimidate and stop the international media from reporting recent events in Egypt.
Some journalists were arrested, others were beaten and had their cameras smashed and some abducted at knifepoint. There were reported assaults on journalists for CNN, CBS, the BBC, Danish TV2 News, Swiss television and Belgium's Le Soir newspaper, Associated Press, Russia's Zvezda television channel, Turkey's state broadcaster TRT, Polish television TVP, al-Arabiya TV, among others. Egyptian authorities shut al-Jazeera's office on Sunday.
Yesterday the IFJ concentrated on sending out with INSI safety advice to journalists on the spot, arranging for them a hotline as well as organising a special satellite telephone support for our colleagues in the Egyptian Syndicate, and preparing our global campaign in support of journalists.
I enclose the letter which I sent last night to the Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Chafik. I should be grateful if you would write to him urgently in similar terms on behalf of you union to demand that his government should ensure that these attacks are stopped forthwith and take responsibility for the protection of journalists.