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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid