Paris, Nov 25: A French TV journalist said Friday she was punched and roughed up, then sexually assaulted while covering protests in Egypt's Tahrir Square, the second attack reported in a single day on women journalists working there.
Caroline Sinz told France 3 television, her employer, that she and her cameraman were set upon by young men in the square then separated on Thursday. She said she was punched, then “subjected to a sexual aggression in front of everyone in full daylight.” Providing more detail in an interview with RMC radio, she said boys 14 to 16 years old “tore off my clothes and undergarments” and assaulted her.
Mona Eltahawy, a prominent Egyptian-born U.S. columnist, said she was sexually assaulted, beaten and blindfolded Thursday near the square—by local police. She said the police then dragged her to the nearby Interior Ministry by her hair and detained her there for 12 hours.
Eltahawy, based in New York, is a women's rights defender, a lecturer on the role of social media in the Arab world and a former Reuters journalist.
In February, Lara Logan, a U.S. correspondent for CBS television, was sexually assaulted by a frenzied mob in Tahrir Square.
On Thursday night, the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders advised media outlets that “there is no other solution” but to hold off on sending female journalists to Egypt.
But when that advice was criticized in France on Friday, the Paris-based organization toned down its warning, urging media outlets to show “great care with the safety of the reporters they send.”
“It is more dangerous for a woman than a man to cover the demonstrations in Tahrir Square,” Reporters Without Borders said. “That is the reality and the media must face it.”