Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brazilian journos allegedly harassed in Egypt

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Could Hosni Mubarak’s thirty years in the Egyptian presidency soon come to an end? According to the New York Times the White House is negotiating a deal where Mubarak would immediately resign and hand power to a provisional government led by recently appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Even if a deal could be worked out tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators will likely not stand down. Indeed, mass protests are being organized for Friday, which some activists have called the "Day of Departure".

Thursday was marked by an increase on attacks on journalists, particularly those trying to do their job in the capital city of Cairo. Members of different media outlets from countries including the U.S., Japan, Britain, India and Sweden became targets of harassment, assault, and arrest reportedly by “angry supporters” of Mubarak. A pair of Brazilians was not immune from this assault on the press according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ):
Corban Costa of Brazilian Radio Nacional and cameraman Gilvan Rocha of TV Brasil were detained, blindfolded, and had their passports and equipment seized, according to Brazilian news accounts. The two were reportedly held overnight without water in a windowless room in a Cairo police station. An officer forced the reporters to sign a statement in Arabic saying they would immediately leave Egypt for Brazil, reports said. "We had to trust what he said, and sign the document, " Corban said. They said they will be sent back to Brazil on Friday.
The CPJ’s Mohamed Abdel Dayem told Voice of America that the assaults on the press were part of a government-backed “media blackout.” "The goal is to eliminate witnesses, journalists and otherwise, but really journalists are always the primary witnesses in any situation like this," added Dayem.

Suleiman denied that the government was pressuring the international media and instead accused the press of instigating unrest in Egypt. "I actually blame certain friendly nations who have television channels, they are not friendly at all, who have intensified the youth against the nation and the state," said the vice president to Nile TV.

Human rights activists were also supposedly the blank of attacks by pro-Mubarak factions; an official at Human Rights Watch claimed that researchers for the organization and Amnesty International were detained during a raid on a Cairo law center.

Video Source - MSNBC
Online Sources- MSNBC, GlobalPost, Committee to Protect Journalists, UOL Noticias, Voice of America, CNN, Human Rights Watch

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