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UN rights expert: attacks against journalists in Egypt need to be investigated

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] spokesperson Rupert Colville on Friday voiced extreme concern [press release] about the increasing amount of violent attacks on members of the media in Egypt. Many attacks came on Saturday when journalists were attempting to report stories on the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution [JURIST backgrounder]. Some of these journalists suffered injuries from live fire from both opponents of the government and police. On Wednesday the Egyptian Prosecutor-General charged [JURIST report] 20 Al Jazeera journalists for joining or conspiring with a terrorist group and broadcasting false images. Colville said that these charges have led to increased fear among other media. He urged Egyptian authorities to release all journalists imprisoned for carrying out legitimate news reporting activities while exercising their basic human rights. Colville also called for an independent investigation of these attacks on the media.

The Committee to Protect Journalists [advocacy website] published a report last December finding Syria the most dangerous nation in the world for journalists [JURIST report], with Egypt and Iraq just behind. Egypt saw a considerable increase in journalist deaths in part because of the sectarian and political violence. Al Jazeera took legal action against the Egyptian government [JURIST report] in September, accusing the regime of detaining journalists [Al Jazeera report] without charges or on politically motivated charges, raiding Al Jazeera offices, confiscating equipment and jamming transmission of broadcasts. Al Jazeera demanded [press release] that the journalists detained in December be released.

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