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Nov 26

Written by: Diana West
Saturday, November 26, 2011 10:40 AM 

What's worse in the eyes of Western elites? Gang rapes of female journalists covering Tahrir Square, or female journalists not covering Tahrir Square so as not to be gang-raped?

After another brutal sexual assault this week in Tahrir Square, this time of French journalist Caroline Sinz, and after Egyptian-American journallist Mona At-Tahtawy was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Egyptian police after being detained (her arm was broken in two places), Reporters Sans Frontieres came to a logical conclusion: Editors should not be assigning women journalists to Cairo: They might be gang-raped, either by mobs or mobs of police.

Makes sense to me.

This -- "discrimination" against women (not the gang rapes) -- didn't go over so well.

The day after Eltahawy and Sinz were assaulted, the French branch of Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) said that international media should not send female journalists to Cairo after two sexual assaults in the past few days. Journalists immediately raised objections and RSF withdrew its statement, which was amended to say:

“We urge the media to take great care and to make the security of their reporters and local correspondents their priority. It is more dangerous for a woman than a man to cover the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. That is the reality and the media must face it. It is the first time that there have been repeated sexual assaults against women reporters in the same place. The media must keep this in mind when sending staff there and must take special safety measures.

“We are not saying the international media should pull out and stop covering events in Egypt. But they need to adapt to the threats that currently exist. And women journalists going to Tahrir Square should be aware of this situation.”

British television journalist and news international editor for Channel 4 Lindsey Hilsum wrote to RSF that

“We have fought for decades as female journalists to get our editors to treat us equally. I do not understand how an organisation devoted to press freedom can recommend discrimination like this.”...

While underscoring that sexual violence against women “is undeniably a problem and absolutely horrific,” British journalist Hilsum also made it clear that “that does not mean women should be intimidated into not reporting in difficult situations.” ...

Hey, I hear there's a hot story in a pirahna tank....


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