Monday, March 31, 2014

Journalist Shot Dead Covering Egypt Clashes



A reporter was killed covering anti-government protests in Cairo. Mayada Ashraf reporting for Al-Dostour newspaper and Masr Al-Arabiya website was shot in the head by an unknown gunman during clashes that followed Egypt’s army chief Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi’s announcement that he was contesting the country’s presidential election. 

The Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RWB/RSF) said the last thing Asharaf had reported was that the army was using live rounds to control the protestors. Four other civilians were also killed.



“We offer our heartfelt condolences to Ashraf’s family and colleagues and we urge the competent authorities to carry out an independent and impartial investigation to ensure that this crime does not go unpunished,” said Lucie Morillon, head of research and advocacy at RSF.

With culprit/s yet to be identified, supporters of the military-backed government and the stalwarts of the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed President Mohamed Morsi accused each other of the murder.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said that Abdel-Kader Ismael, editor of the Al-Dostour had told a television station that an ambulance were initially unable to reach Ashraf due to the clashes. CPJ also said there Masr Al-Arabiya showed a video of Ashraf being carried away.

CPJ said that Al-Dostour is known for its critical reporting of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party. CPJ also mentions that Ashraf had called the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists in her latest report.

Eleven journalists have been killed in connection with their work since 2011 and at least four since last July when Morsi was deposed following a popular uprising backed by the military. Egypt ranks 159th of 179 countries in RSF’s Press Freedom Index.

“We call on the Egyptian government to open an independent and impartial investigation into Mayada Ashraf’s killing,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “A journalist's death should not be used to settle political scores –the focus should be on journalists’ right to safely cover events in Egypt.”

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