Friday, February 4, 2011

EGYPT: Journalists attacked, threatened with "beheading"

Protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo on 1 February 2011. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA


Attacks on foreign journalists continue to intensify in Egypt. Yesterday, Anderson Cooper wasbeaten in the head and a Fox News crew had to be hospitalized. Today, Cooper suffered another attack, while an ABC news crew was threatened with “beheading” by a mob which included an attacker in a police uniform.
Cooper reported his second ordeal via Twitter today:
An ABC News crew suffered a similar attack on its vehicle. That crew’s attackers even went as far as to threaten to cut the journalists’ heads off:
A group of angry Egyptian men carjacked an ABC News crew and threatened to behead them today in the latest and most menacing attack on foreign reporters trying to cover the anti-government uprising.
Producer Brian Hartman, cameraman Akram Abi-hanna and two other ABC News employees were surrounded on a crowded road that leads from Cairo‘s airport to the city’s downtown area.
While ABC News and other press agencies had been taking precautions to avoid volatile situations, the road to the airport had been a secure route until today. One of their two vehicles was carrying cameras and transmission equipment strapped to the roof, indicating they were foreign journalists.
Hartman says it was only through the appeal of Abi-hanna, who is Lebanese and a veteran ABC cameraman, that they were saved from being killed or severely beaten.
“We thought we were goners,” Hartman said later. “We absolutely thought we were doomed.”
According to Hartman’s Twitter account, one of his attackers was wearing a police uniform: