Security forces shot dead the Beheira bureau chief of the state-run Al-Ahram paper on Monday night, near a military checkpoint in Damanhour after curfew hours, state media reported. Another journalist was also injured.
Al-Ahram’s Tamer Abdel Raouf was in the car with Hamed al-Barbary, the bureau chief of state-run Al-Gomhurriya, on the way back from interviewing the Beheira governor at the Damanhour Cultural Complex, according to the Middle East News Agency.
The prosecution has launched an investigation into the shooting, but it is believed that the two were accidentally shot by security forces when it appeared as though they were fleeing the checkpoint during curfew hours.
Journalists are exempt from the curfew, which is in place from 7 pm to 6 am in several governorates.
Reuters quoted a security source saying that security forces at the checkpoint opened fire on a car they thought had tried to escape. The vehicle had made a U-turn to drive away from the checkpoint, alarming security forces who then opened fire, the sources told Reuters.
Journalists have come under attack while covering the developments in Egypt since August 14, when security forces dispersed two sit-ins demanding the reinstatement of deposed President Mohamed Morsi. At least four journalists and photographers were killed, and dozens more have since been detained or attacked in the street by security forces and civilian vigilantes.
On Monday, Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, denounced the deaths of photographer Habiba Abdel Aziz and cameraman Mick Deane in Cairo, both of whom were shot dead while covering the dispersal of the sit-in at Rabea al-Adaweya.
In a statement, UNESCO said that at least four other photographers and journalists were injured in the clashes, which claimed several hundred other victims.
“I deplore the deaths of Habiba Abdel Aziz and Mick Deane,” Bokova said. “I call on the Egyptian authorities to do all they can for the safety of media workers in the interest of both freedom of expression and freedom of information.”
On Saturday, as reporters flocked to Al-Fath Mosque in Ramses Square to report on the spillover of the previous day’s violence between Muslim Brotherhood protesters and police, army, and civilians, many were randomly arrested.
Egypt’s State Information Service issued a statement on Saturday that many believe will provide a basis for such attacks. It criticized Western media for only showing opposing stances to the ouster of Morsi, and for ignoring the deaths in the ranks of the police and the Armed Forces in recent clashes with his supporters.
In a press conference on Wednesday, presidential advisor Mostafa Hegazy slammed Western media for ignoring attacks on churches and focusing only on police violence against the Brotherhood.