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:: Egypt’s 2010 Parliamentary Elections > 2010 election update
Violent Attacks on Media Reported on Egypt’s Black Sunday
Violent Attacks on Media Reported on Egypt’s Black Sunday
Cases of deliberate hindering of journalists trying to cover Egypt’s parliamentary poll November 28 and its runoff December 5 were reported by Reporters without borders on Thursday
Saturday, December 11,2010 11:02

Extensive amounts of documented cases of deliberate hindering of journalists trying to cover Egypt’s parliamentary polls on November 28 and its runoff on December 5, were reported by Reporters without Borders on Thursday.

The so-called massive win and landslide victory of the ruling regime’s NDP was unanimously slammed by observers in Egypt. A large number of journalists were attacked by recruited thugs and security forces in the course of polling day.

With the regime’s evident intention to further monopolize the media, there were reports that NileSat on December 3 suspended al-Faraeen TV for two weeks for what it described as “violation of the media code of ethics and rules of covering elections”. The decision was made by the Media Free Zone administration, in Sixth of October City. The suspension came about after the prosecutor received a complaint submitted by the High Electoral Commission’s director, Sayed Abdul-Aziz Omar, sent from the information minister, Annas al-Fekki, against the channel for violating the principles of election coverage. Previous bans last October were ordered for 12 satellite cable channels.

On December 5, two journalists from the independent daily al-Shorouk were ordered to stand for trial by Prosecutor Abdul Magid Mahmoud before the criminal court accused of insulting and defaming an official in the exercise of his duty during the elections. An interview was conducted with the newly ‘elected’ NDP candidate, Moamena Kamel, in the Giza governorate where journalist, Hisham el-Meyani, questioned her about statements made by the Justice Minister to the High Electoral Commission concerning fraud cases in the constituency where she had just secured her seat. Kamel criticized the allegations, describing him as intellectually belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. The same day Kamel complained about the journalist to his editor-in-chief, Amr Khafagy. The complaint resulted in a 6 hour interrogation of the journalist and a colleague with charges and release on bail of 20,000 Egyptian pounds. The first date for their hearing has been set for December 18, 2010. They face imprisonment from six months to three years and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds.

Ayman Ibrahim, journalist on the magazine al-Idhaa wa al-Tilfaza was also beaten up by thugs supporting the independent candidate, Mahmoud Mosleh, after he took photos of them committing fraud at a polling station, in the delta region north of Cairo. The journalist said that his possessions and equipment were stolen. He filed a complaint at Zefta police station. His possessions were returned to him, except his money, and the photos he had taken had been deleted from his camera.
Omar Ammar, from the same weekly, was covering voting at a polling station east of Cairo where he was hit by a police officer when he refused his order to leave the polling station. Ammar tried but failed to make a complaint at the police station.
Ahmed Abdul-Fattah of the daily al-Masry al-Youm was also brutally assaulted by paid NDP thugs in the governorate of Kafr-el-Sheikh, north of Cairo. All his equipment was stolen and he was left with bruises covering his body. His colleague, Omar al-Sheikh, was also attacked by supporters of NDP candidate, Abdul-Khair Abdul-‘Alem.

Entry was denied to journalists and representatives of civil society organizations in the governorate of Daqahleya, in the delta region north of Cairo after police refused to accept the validity of their accreditation from the High Electoral Commission. They were told that only those issued by the police station in the constituency were valid. Hossam al-Hawary, a photographer for the daily al-Masry al-Youm tried to enter without permission and was immediately attacked by NDP supporters who threatened to stab him to death.

A team from the independent weekly al-Youm al-Sabe’ was attacked at the same place by NDP supporters. Journalist Mohamed Haggag was forced into the polling station at knife-point where he was manhandled and detained for half an hour before being released. Ahmed Ismail and Sheriff el-Deeb for the same media, were beaten by the same individuals outside the building and forcibly expelled from the city.

Journalists were banned from covering skirmishes that broke out between supporters of Essam Abdul Razeq and Mohamed al-Halawany, both NDP candidates for the constituency in Kafr Saqr, in the governorate of Sharqeya. A correspondent for the daily al-Youm al-Sabe’, Iman Mechanna, was also assaulted because she took photos of the incident.

Security forces on December 5 also banned a demonstration planned by the April 6 Movement in Tahrir Square, Cairo, to demonstrate against the massive electoral fraud and to urge voters to boycott the second round of polling. All gatherings were banned for fear of demonstrators, including those at bus stations and shop entrances.

Further tactics used by the ruling regime’s tyrants included the blocking of websites in an effort to obstruct documentation and reporting during the elections.
Most websites belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood (IkhwanOnline) was inaccessible from within Egypt from 8 am to 7 pm and then again until midnight, on December 5. The same censorship was applied to the Brothers’ online forum al-Moltaqa (http://www.ikhwan.net/forum/). Other websites that were inaccessible and censored for 24 hours during the polls include: http://www.shahid2010.com/ (inaccessible), http://shababelikhwan.net/ib/index.php (accessible in a few parts of the country), http://www.sharkiaonline.com/ (accessible in a few parts of the country), http://www.amlalommah.net/ (inaccessible), http://www.nowabikhwan.com/ (accessible in a few parts of the country), http://www.egyptwindow.net/ (inaccessible) and http://www.ikhwanweb.com/ (inaccessible).

According to sources, the authorities, particularly the Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) that comes under the council of ministers, were responsible for blocking the sites in collaboration with TEDATA, ETISALAT and LINK DSL), the country’s internet services providers.

With the impending presidential bid in 2011 it is likely that a fresh upsurge of tension and censorship may well be on the ruling regime’s agenda during the upcoming months.

tags: Violent Attacks / Parliamentary Poll / NDP / Candidate / Second Round / Security Forces / Parliamentary Elections / Human Rights in Egypt / Egyptian Eelections / NDP Candidates / Rigged Elections
Posted in 2010 election update  
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