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ABC News Crew Threatened With Beheading; Fox News Crew Beaten. Attacks on Media Escalate in Cairo

Feb 3, 2011  •  Post A Comment

An ABC News crew was carjacked Thursday in Cairo by a group of angry men who threatened to behead them, as attacks against foreign reporters escalated in the strife-riddled Egyptian capital, ABC News reported. The team was later released.

In another attack, The Hollywood Reporter says Fox News correspondent Greg Palkot and his cameraman, Olaf Wiig, were hospitalized after being beaten.

According to the THR article, the two men " ‘were above Tahrir Square yesterday,’ Fox News’ John Roberts said on the air Thursday. ‘They were forced to leave their position when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at it, a large fire erupted. They were forced to flee. They ran out and ran right into the pro Mubarak crowd and were severely beaten and had to be taken to the hospital, spent the night in the hospital. The extent of their injuries was fairly grave, however, they have been released from the hospital.’ "

According to the ABC New story, Correspondent Brian Hartman, cameraman Akram Abi-hanna and two other ABC News employees were the victims of the carjacking.

In Cairo to cover the increasingly violent uprising against the Egyptian government, the news team was reportedly surrounded on a crowded road that leads from the city’s airport to its downtown area. The route was reportedly secure until today.

"We are assessing the security situation literally on a minute to minute basis,” said Jeffrey Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News. “Our priority is to ensure the safety of all of our staff in the field."

Other Western journalists have also been attacked in Cairo in recent days. ABC News anchor Christiane Amanpour and her team were reportedly “surrounded and interrogated by a threatening crowd” just minutes after news surfaced that Hartman and his colleagues had been released, the story reports.

The developments follow earlier attacks against CNN’s Anderson Cooper, CBS’s Katie Couric and other journalists. 

2 Comments

  1. At this point, I would just remove all journalists from Egypt – its just to dangerous to remain, and its not good to esculate tensions any higher than it already is. Covering news can be a very dangerous situation to the reporter and field crew. Granted, its part of the job to take calculated risks – but there is also a need at times in using good judgement and pulling back. I don’t want to see any of my fellow journalists be seriously injured. Right now, its just pushing, shoving, threatening and a few punches – however, from the expereience so far – its time to err on the side of caution. Right now for news crews its a no-win situation – and to be really honest, its all a little too ugly at this point. Mubarek has noting to lose, ergo, his goons are going all out. So a suggestion to my reporter friends and their crews – pull back, and let the Egyptians battle it out among themselves, and then try to cover the aftermath once the dust has settled!

  2. I will never understand the American media. They always assume that they can carry a copy of the US Constitution in their pocket and it will apply where it is they are reporting.
    A good smack down is what they needed.

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