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Concerns for media safety in Egypt after reporter's shooting

7 December 2012

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today raised concerns of the safety of journalists and media workers who are covering the unfolding crisis in Egypt. The Federation was reacting to reports of a serious incident in which journalist El-Hosseini Abul-Deif was shot on Wednesday. 

The reporter, who worked for El-Fagr newspaper, was shot and critically injured during the clashes and doctors at Zahraa Hospital declared him clinically dead on Thursday morning, according to media reports. Five people were killed during violent clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohammed Morsi.

Jim Boumelha, IFJ president, said:

"We condemn the shooting of El-Hosseini and urge the authorities to investigate thoroughly the circumstances of this incident, The violence on the streets of Cairo must not serve as an excuse for mindless attacks on journalists, causing loss of life and serious injury." 

Reports say that El-Hosseini was shot at close range for photographs he had taken of the protests outside the Presidential palace in Cairo. The Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate has blamed members of the Muslim Brotherhood for the attack.

Egypt is in the grip of unrest following the decision of President Mosri to issue a decree, stripping the judiciary of power to challenge his decisions. His critics also oppose the draft of the country's new Constitution to be voted on 15 December, saying it does not offer adequate protection of fundamental rights.

The IFJ is concerned that the escalation of the crisis in Egypt is attracting stronger media interest, raising the risks to the safety of journalists and other media workers who are likely to travel to the country.

Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary, added:

"We urge journalists in Egypt to take extra precautions for their physical safety in this highly volatile situation. At the same time, the authorities have an obligation to protect our colleagues and to do everything in their power to prevent and punish acts of violence targeting media."

Tags: , IFJ, Egypt, press freedom, solidarity, journalists killed