Egyptian Police have arrested three local photojournalists on Sunday in the capital Cairo, beat them up and tortured them by electrocution, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported on its website on Monday.
RFI quoted the journalists’ lawyer Fatma Serag as saying that the three were doing ‘vox-pops’ when they were taken in custody and accused of spreading false information and belonging to an illegal organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood.
In media, especially in broadcasting, a ‘vox pop’ is an interview with members of the public. Sirag said that they were seriously assaulted and electrocuted.
Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian democratically elected head of state who was illegally bundled out of power with the blessing of the US, is a member of the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Terrorism-hit Egypt, ruled with iron-fist by pro-West military strongman Abdel Fattah El Sisi since June 2014, has been cracking down hard on critical media for the past two years.
Egypt is second only to China as the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2015, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a special report published in December last year.
“Perhaps nowhere has the climate for the press deteriorated more rapidly than in Egypt, now the second worst jailer of journalists worldwide,” the CPJ report, penned by Elaine Beiser, claimed.
“President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi continues to use the pretext of national security to clamp down on dissent. Cairo is holding 23 journalists in jail, compared with 12 a year ago.”
Photo: An Egyptian photojournalist appears in court after spending over 600 days in jail. credit: CPJ/AP/Lobha Tarek