CPJ: A Storm Before the Calm

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Prior to the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak on Friday morning, the Committee to Protect
Journalists released this update on the threats to journalists
reporting from that country via its website:

Egyptian authorities are obstructing
international news coverage of the country’s political crisis
by withholding press credentials and, in one instance,
invading the home of a foreign journalist. A well-known
Egyptian blogger also remains unaccounted for after being
seized by suspected government agents earlier this week.

After an unprecedented assault on the press, anti-press attacks
and detentions have been subsiding, CPJ tracking has found. But numerous
journalists have reported an ongoing government effort to
obstruct and intimidate them.

Since last Sunday, uniformed military personnel have confi scated
press credentials, and in some cases cameras and other equipment,
from foreign journalists reporting from Cairo, CPJ research shows.
Multiple journalists told CPJ they were instructed to seek what was
called “temporary accreditation” from the Ministry of Information.

But CPJ has found no evidence the government is actively
granting such “temporary accreditation.” CPJ has
spoken to 10 foreign journalists, none of whom had been
granted the new accreditation.

Separately, CPJ sources said military police burst into
the apartment of an international journalist on Tuesday,
searched the residence, and confi scated journalistic materials.
CPJ research shows that other detained journalists, both
local and international, have been released in recent days.

“The authorities say everything is being done to protect
journalists, but reports of harassment and intimidation continue,”
said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa
program coordinator. “Shifting from a tactic of outright violence
against journalists to one of erecting bureaucratic obstacles is not fooling
anybody. Cairo must allow all journalists to report unhindered.”

In all, CPJ has documented at least 141 direct attacks on journalists
and news facilities since January 30, and is investigating numerous
other reports.

For more updates, go to www.cpj.org.