Egypt crackdown: troops thought to be targeting media

A Sky News cameraman and a reporter for a Gulf newspaper have been shot dead and at least four other colleagues wounded by gunfire, stoking fears that Egyptian forces deliberately targeted media workers during the crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Michael Deane and Habiba Ahmad Abd Elaziz were killed by sniper fire near Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in northeast Cairo. Two cameramen, whose identities are yet to be confirmed, were also shot and wounded as they stood on a stage near the centre of the site, which had become a focal point of Brotherhood supporters since their leader was ousted as president almost six weeks ago.

Photographs posted on Twitter around the same time showed the two wounded men, who were identified by bystanders as cameramen. A helmet of the type worn by many media professionals in Cairo was also displayed with a penetrating hole in its side likely caused by a bullet. A Reuters photographer, Asmaa Waguih, was also shot in the leg, medics and her colleagues said. An Associated Press photographer was hit in the back of the neck by two shotgun pellets, but later returned to work, the agency reported.

Both deaths occurred around midday on Wednesday, more than six hours after Interior Ministry troops closed in on the area, where tens of thousands of backers of Mohamed Morsy had gathered since the military-led popular coup that ousted him on 3 July. Abd Elaziz worked for a Gulf title, Xpress, but was not on an official assignment when she was killed.

The Gulf News, a state-backed newspaper in the United Arab Emirates -- and Xpress’s sister publication -- quoted deputy editor Mazhar Farooqui saying “It’s hard to believe she’s gone. She was passionate about her work and had a promising career ahead.” The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was investigating several attacks on journalists and urged Egyptian authorities to “show restraint and allow the media to do their job.” “We call on Egyptian authorities to issue clear orders to security forces to respect the right of journalists to work freely and safely while covering events in Cairo and the rest of the country,” said deputy director Robert Mahoney.

Deane, 61, who had worked with Sky for 15 years, was seriously wounded by a single shot and died soon afterwards. John Ryley, the network’s chief, said: “Everyone at Sky News is shocked and saddened by Mick’s death. He was a talented and experienced journalist who had worked with Sky News for many years.

“The loss of a much-loved colleague will be deeply felt across Sky News. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family. We will give them our full support at this extremely difficult time.” Deane was with Sam Kiley, the Sky News Middle East correspondent, when he was shot.

Described as a well-liked and widely-respected camera operator, Deane has worked for Sky News for 15 years in the US and more recently the Middle East, based in Jerusalem.

Tim Marshall, Sky’s foreign affairs editor who announced Deane’s death on—air at 2pm, described his colleague as a “diamond and gem to be with” because he was wise and would keep his counsel when on foreign trips with the broadcaster.

“A friend, first and foremost to us, not just a colleague but a friend. Michael Douglas Deane, but Mickey to all of us ... brave as a lion, what a heart, what a human being,” Marhsall added.

“You know you’re never supposed to talk ill of the dead. It would not be possible to talk ill of Mickey. It’s just positive all the way. To us, a friend, our hearts go out to his family. He died doing what he’d done so brilliantly for so many decades.” British Prime minister David Cameron said on Twitter: “I am saddened to hear of the death of cameraman Mick Deane, covering Egyptian violence. “My thoughts are with his family and the Sky News team.” © Guardian News & Media 2013

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 6:54:51 PM |

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