In a statement released yesterday, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) strongly condemned recent threats of violence leveled against journalists reporting for Alhurra Television in Egypt.
Unidentified individuals entered Alhurra’s Cairo news bureau yesterday and threatened to kill Alhurra’s two on-air journalists – Akram Khuzam and Tarek El Shamy – if they didn’t leave the building. The bureau was immediately closed. Similar threats were made at the production facility for Alhurra’s flagship program “Al Youm.” The staff had not yet arrived for the show and the unidentified individuals eventually left the building.
In addition, a pamphlet circulating throughout Cairo calls for government supporters to attack Alhurra and Al-Jazeera journalists. Earlier this week, an Alhurra correspondent was harassed by pro-Mubarak protesters in the streets of Cairo.
“We recognize that many media organizations face similar threats and acts of violence and call upon the Egyptian government and security forces to permit journalists to report on events without fear of reprisal,” said Walter Isaacson, chairman of the BBG, the oversight body for all U.S. international broadcasting. “Alhurra and Radio Sawa are crucial sources of information about the unfolding events in Egypt. The freedom for our team, along with other news outlets, to report the news is essential to restoring order in a tumultuous environment.”
It is not clear who ordered the attacks.