Watchdog group Journalists against Torture Observatory in Egypt released a report stating that there were 60 cases of violations against journalists in December 2015. The report said 31 cases were recorded during the first week of December, five cases in the second week, nine cases in the third week, and 15 cases in the fourth.
The report did not cover all cases subject to limited manpower resources. The group relied on different ways of monitoring violations against journalists. It monitored and documented 23 violations through direct testimonies of journalists gathered by the field team of the Observatory, while 37 others were collected through various press agencies.
According to the report, there were nine different violations against journalists in December. The group recorded 34 incidents where journalists were banned from coverage or the content of cameras was deleted. In addition, seven cases of verbal harassment threats have been recorded, six cases of litigations against journalists, four cases of beating or injury, three cases of imposing fines, three cases of detention, one case of damaging press equipment, one case of a sentence for imprisonment in absentia against a journalist, and one incident of arresting a journalist.
The observation and documentation unit of the Observatory manager Ayat Ahmed told Daily News Egypt that the number of violations against journalists has been skyrocketing. During parliamentary elections, violations against journalists and photojournalists were very high, with 149 cases were recorded during the elections period.
Ahmed said in October, 97 cases of violations were recorded and 132 recorded cases in November. She anticipated that the number of violations would be much higher for 2015 and that the number would exceed 2014, where 674 cases of violations were recorded. She said the 2015 report has not been completed yet.
Ahmed said the Egyptian constitution guaranteed journalists’ freedom of expression.
“Unlike expected, after the 25 January Revolution in 2011, we were expecting more freedom of expression forjournalists but in fact it has been confined and journalists have been detained, imprisoned, and banned from reporting,” Ahmed said. She called for more action on the Egyptian Journalism Syndicate’s part to protect journalists.
“The syndicate has been doing a great job and its role has become stronger but we need more to protect journalists from these violations,” she said.