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

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid