ANHR denounces attacks on reporters during coverage of People’s Revolution demanding ousting of Information Minister

ANHR denounces attacks on reporters during coverage of People’s Revolution demanding ousting of Information Minister

A recent statement by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information stated that the claims of reform proposed by the new Prime Minister are false and a sham because they did not include any reform or provide protection for the freedom of the press and the media since the attacks on reporters and media employees are continuing in a viscous and systematic manner with the collaboration and incitement from Information Minister, Anas Al-Faqi.

 Despite the statements and dialogues of Ahmad Shafiq, the New Prime Minister about the protection of the media and the right to peaceful gathering, the attacks on the reporters continue. The latest attack was on the office of the electronic Al-Badil Newspaper yesterday evening the 5th of February and the arrest of the reporters at the office, in addition to the attack on Carol Kirbaj from A-Safeer, the Lebanese newspaper.

According to The Arabic Network following the last speech by President Mubarak, criminal gangs attacked the protesters with weapons. Furthermore following the speech by the new Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq about reforms and his pledge to protect the protesters and media outlets, the militias of the NDP and the police force were attacking and killing journalists on the streets of Egypt.  Faces changed, but the anti freedom of expression and the press policies are still intact, and that is what we will not accept again. In addition to the arrests of dozens of reporters, there were physical attacks on dozens of other reporters that reached to the point of murder.

Reporters and media employees from American newspapers and media outlets were attacked and arrested such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, and Zuma News Agency. Other journalists from the following media outlets were attacked too: the British BBC Radio and The Guardian, two journalists from France24 Agency, the Canadian Globe and Mail, arrest of a report for the Russian TV, “Zvezda.” In addition, to this reporters from Turkey, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Brazil, Greece and France were subjected to similar violent arrests at the hands of the NDP gangs with the help of the Egyptian police force and the indifference of the armed forces that continue with the negative neutrality in regards to such attacks.

Since these attacks were premeditated and systematic that clearly target the journalists and media outlets, the Egyptian and Arab journalist were not excluded from these blatant attacks that were incited by information Minister Anas Al-Faqi.  The attacks targeted the independent Egyptian daily, A-Shorouk and the attacks on its reporters, at least six reporters from the independent daily, Al-Masri newspaper were attacked, reporters for the Qatari Al-Jazeera were arrested and their office was shut down and when they were released, the chief bureau of al-Jazeera in Cairo, Abdul Fattah Fayed was detained.

The hysterical attacks on reporters did not exclude those working for government media outlets such as Ahmad Mahmoud, who was shot by the snipers of the security apparatus an NDP when he was documenting with his cell phone the crimes of the ruling NDP gangs.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information ascertains that any reform regarding media outlets will not be achieved as long as Information Minister Anas Al-Faqi stays in office. It stressed the minister has a history of animosity toward the freedom of expression and the press whose absence was one of the main reasons behind the Intifada that Egypt is witnessing now.

The Network also states that there is no alternative to sacking the minister and prosecuting him as a result of his practices of silencing, censoring, hindering, and besieging the freedom of expression in Egypt over the past years. It makes no sense that the information ministry continues to be headed by a man that manipulates public opinion and fabricates the news to this day and despite the Intifada in Egypt.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information also condemns the unwelcome return of the police force to the Egyptian streets that it started with the attack on the office of Al-Badil newspaper yesterday in an attempt to restore its oppressive role that the Egyptian Intifada came to put an end to and remove those responsible for it.