News / Middle East

In Egypt, Photographers Face Harrassment

  • Amira Mortada and a colleague in the field after clashes broke out across Egypt in response to Morsi's ouster, August 2013. (Courtesy of Amira Mortada)
  • Morsi-supporters have held near-constant protests since his ouster on July 3 and clashes have erupted, August 2013. (Courtesy of Amira Mortada)
  • Even aerial photographs of clashes in Alexandria are difficult to take, as renters are afraid to allow photographers to use their space for work, August, 2013. (Courtesy of Amira Mortada)
  • The streets of Alexandria are still tense since the clashes quieted last week, but photographers say locals are still suspicious of anyone with a camera, August 2013. (Courtesy of Amira Mortada)
  • Photographers in Alexandria say they are blamed for the increasingly one-sided news. Some say they will change who they say they are shooting for based on the political views of the crowd, August 2013. (Courtesy of Amira Mortada)
Photographer Amira Mortada Documents the Unrest in Alexandria, Egypt
Heather Murdock
Taking photographs in Egypt attracts hostility from all sides of the political crisis that has turned increasingly violent in recent weeks, and many photographers in the tense city of Alexandria avoid the streets, or the city altogether.  

In better times, tourists from all over Egypt and the world visited Alexandria to take pictures of the blue waters, the historic buildings and the world-famous library.  But in these turbulent days, cameras are snatched from the few tourists in the city and residents taking pictures from their balconies are threatened. 
 
Despite the dangers, photojournalist Amira Mortada has been taking pictures on the streets for more than three years.  In recent weeks, she has been harassed, shot at and chased, But she has no desire to quit.
 
Mortada said when she started taking pictures for the news she was the only female photojournalist in town.  Since then, two other women have entered the field.  
 
She said after the Hosni Mubarak regime fell in 2011, the onslaught of free speech made her feel like she could fly.  But two and a half years later, photography is more dangerous than ever as supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood face off with army supporters.
 
The Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi July 3 and since then the Muslim Brotherhood has organized near-constant protests.  More than a thousand people have died in recent weeks as the military-installed interim government cracked down on demonstrations.  
 
Protests continue on a smaller scale and journalists are caught in the middle as news sources line up on both sides.  Several journalists are among the dead.  Some local reporters are accused of being pro-government while foreign reporters are accused of being pro-Brotherhood. 
 
At a café in central Alexandria, near the scene of many recent clashes, Mortada’s colleague, photojournalist Ahmed Tarek, said no matter where you attempt to take pictures in Alexandria, someone will be suspicious. 
 
“In the end of the day they judge journalists from the chief editor’s point of view," he said. "A colleague of ours -- many colleagues faced violence and harassment when they work because of the point of view of their chief editor.  Not them.”
 
Mortada said her newspaper has taken a side in the political crisis but she personally has not. Photography, she added, can be used to support propaganda for one side or another.  But photos can also tell the truth when placed next to words that do not, she noted.
 

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs