'Firm Warning' For Reporter Briefly Detained By Egyptian Authorities
Originally published on Tue February 8, 2011 1:52 pm
Many reporters are finding it more difficult to see what's happening on the ground in Egypt because authorities are making it harder for them to get around as anti-government protests continue.
We're not hearing about journalists being attacked by thugs, as happened last week. But we are hearing about reporters being prevented from going places and being required to seek government permission before heading out.
NPR's Corey Flintoff was stopped by authorities today as he and another journalist tried to go from Cairo to Suez. They were questioned for a few hours and then told to turn back. He's called NPR's Newscast and described what happened (there's a brief pause at the 39-second mark because we've taken two clips and merged them; we'll post a transcript below):
"[They were] very straight forward questions basically. Things like: 'Where had we been? When did we arrive? What kind of stories had we been doing?' You know, that kind of thing.
"At the same time, they were telling us essentially the government line — which is that protests are fine, but it's time for everybody to calm down and to let the state process take its course.
"So it was a little bit of questioning, a little bit of propaganda, I think. And definitely a firm warning that we were not to be in an area like that without specific written permission from the government.
"After about three hours; after they had interrogated everyone that was in our party, they let us go. But they told us that we must leave Suez and we must not return unless we have press credentials that are issued by the Egyptian government. So far, it's been rather difficult to get those credentials. We've applied for them, but we don't have them yet."