Media targeted as Egyptian troops descend on protestors

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 19-12-2011

Four days of violent clashes between Egyptian soldiers and protestors in Cairo's Tahrir Square have seen the official death toll reach 14, with an increasing rise in attacks reported on journalists and their equipment.

The bloody military crackdown on a three week old sit in, calling for the ruling generals to hand over power immediately to a civilian authority, began on Friday 16 December.
Footage broadcast on the private Egyptian CBC satellite TV station on Saturday (17 December) showed soldiers beating two protesters with sticks, repeatedly stamping on the head of one, before leaving the motionless bodies on the pavement, according to AP.
Following that, CBC's live broadcasts from Tahrir Square were curtailed by officials, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information in Cairo.
Equipment, including cameras, have also reportedly been confiscated from another Egyptian satellite broadcaster ONTV, while plainclothes soldiers hunting for the Al Jazeera TV crew filming events from a hotel in Tahrir Square were heard threatening to beat up a female worker there if she did not tell them where the media crew were.
When they did find the Al Jazeera team, the soldiers hurled their cameras, batteries and lighting equipment off the balcony, starting a fire in the streets below. A channel representative was reportedly also detained for two hours.
"The regrettable events unfolding in Egypt since Friday morning and until now were permeated by a semi-organized campaign targeting journalists and media practitioners, in reminiscence of the violent campaign launched by police services during the first wave of the uprising," said a statement from the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.
"The currently raging campaign involved several assaults against journalists and satellite channels that are visually reporting the violations encountered by the protesters, in addition to destroying any camera shooting the attacks, whether in the hands of a professional photographer or an ordinary citizen," the Cairo based organisation added.
Egypt's prime minister has defended the security forces' violent response to the protests.