Dozens of journalists protested on Wednesday at the Press Syndicate, in solidarity with the journalists who were attacked at the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) headquarters in Moqattam during clashes between protesters and MB members on Saturday.
High-profile media and political figures were seen at the protest, including former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, TV host Rim Maguid, prominent journalist Yehia Qallash, and Head of Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan.
During the protest, named ‘Your Terrorism Won’t Stop Us’, the protesting journalists called for protecting their fellow journalists from being attacked by protesters, Muslim Brotherhood members, or security forces while they cover events. They accused the Muslim Brotherhood of attempting to silence journalists who expose their corruption, according to several journalists who attended the protest.
Several injured journalists also attended the protest, where they explained how they were attacked by Muslim Brotherhood members and security forces.
Rashwan criticised security forces that were present during the clashes for not protecting journalists. “They were a few metres away from the clashes and they did not intervene.”
Rashwan said five journalists were injured in the Moqattam clashes, adding that the injuries varied from bruises to fractures. He added that prosecutor general responded to the complaint he filed against Brotherhood members and ordered three to be arrested for investigations. “We never give up and we will fight for the rights of our journalists and citizens forever,” Rashwan added.
The Brotherhood responded to Rashwan’s complaints in an official statement asserting their respect for journalists and denying attacks against them, according to the statement.
The statement, addressing Rashwan, added that the Brotherhood sent a video to the syndicate showing a photojournalist attacking guards at the Brotherhood headquarters before capturing their response. “We urge you to investigate this incident and take the necessary decision regarding this violation of journalism rules,” the statement read.
Sabahi said the press syndicate would overcome attempts to silence its journalists and would fight for freedom of expression. He added that Rashwan would bring the syndicate back onto a patriotic path.
Rashwan recently assumed the presidency of the syndicate, replacing Mamdouh El-Waly, who was allegedly affiliated with the Brotherhood.
“The journalists’ job is not praising the president; rather it is criticising his mistakes and exposing them to the public. A state-controlled media does not and would never exist in Egypt,” said Sahabi, stating that the alleged attacks on journalists would be investigated thoroughly.
Samy El-Balshy, journalist and artist, said the journalists support Rashwan in his attempts to protect them. He added that the syndicate will wait for the results of investigations into the actions of Brotherhood guards before taking further action.