4 Feb 2011

Egypt journalist resigns from state TV in protest

Egyptian journalist Shahira Amin tells Channel 4 News why she resigned from state-run Nile TV after being banned from covering the ongoing protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Egypt journalist resigns from state TV in protest

Shahira Amin resigned from her post as deputy head of Nile TV yesterday after becoming disillusioned with the “near total blackout” of coverage of the ongoing unrest across Egypt.

While hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets amid violent clashes in the capital Cairo, a very different picture appeared on state owned television.

Shahira Amin told Channel 4 News that she felt no longer able to report propaganda at Nile TV after being allowed to air only the pro-Mubarak rallies.

“History is in the making in our country right now and as a journalist I wanted to be part of it,” Amin said.

“I wanted to be out there in the field reporting, but at state television there were restrictions and we weren’t allowed to go and report from Tahrir Square. I felt suffocated, I felt like my hands were tied and I had a heavy heart.

“I was driving near Tahrir Square and I heard the chants of the protesters – I had seen what was happening on the ground but I wasn’t able to report it. I thought if I go back to that studio I would be betraying the young activists in Tahrir Square.

“I wanted to be out there in the field reporting but at state television there were restrictions.” Shahira Amin

“They have started this momentum, their demands are very legitimate, they are asking for freedom, social justice and its something my generation hasn’t been able to do under oppressive measures.”

After resigning on Thursday Amin said she spent time with the protesters. On the day of her resignation a number of journalists – including Channel 4 News International Editor Lindsey Hilsum reported being subject to violent harassment.

A number of foreign reporters were arrested, one stabbed in the leg and there were reports that another was killed.

Amin told Channel 4 News she felt the authorities were unhappy with the coverage of the ongoing events in Egypt.

“I believe the regime is very frustrated with the international coverage and they’re trying to silence the voices,” she said.

“All these protesters out there have their mobile phones and they’re taking pictures and dispatching immediately to the outside world, so I hope the regime understands that these are futile efforts and they cannot stop what is happening getting to everyone across the globe.”