Mass Attacks on Foreign Reporters in Egypt

Reporters Without Borders Slams 'Witch-Hunt' Against Media

The first reports began to emerge yesterday, with CNN’s Anderson Cooper describing being the victim of sucker-punches from pro-Mubarak forces while trying to cover the growing revolt in Tahrir Square. Today, the attacks have become virtually ubiquitous.

Reporters Without Borders has issued a statement expressing horror at “what appears to be an all-out witch-hunt against news media” in Egypt and reports have emerged from major and minor media outlets the world over of attacks and threats against their employees on the ground.

ABC News is reporting that reporter Brian Hartman and his entourage were car-jacked at a checkpoint in Cairo and that the attackers threatened to “behead” him before his cameraman intervened and convinced the attackers to spare them.

Other reports detail the thrashing of a number of journalists and photographers by the forces, apparently angry at the foreign coverage of the massive pro-democracy protests. The Egyptian government has accused foreign journalists of plotting to force Mubarak out.

Which makes reports of security forces rounding up foreign journalists all the more ominous, even if some are speculating they’ve been detained “for their own protection.” Dozens of journalists have been disappeared off the streets by troops, and dozens of others beaten for their roles in covering the protests.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.