Words aren’t adequate to express my disgust at the Egyptian military in detaining Al Jazeera English correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin. Mohyeldin has been a constant voice of solid information at Tahrir Square in Cairo throughout the anti-government protests of the last 13 days. While other correspondents chose not to be identified, Mohyeldin put his face on camera and spoke the moods, attitudes and demands of the people in an effort to keep the world informed.
Shortly before 9 o’clock CST this morning, Al Jazeera English’s Mohamed Nanabhay tweeted “Our @AJEnglish Cairo correspondent, @aymanM, has been in military custody for four hours,” adding a few minutes later, “Ayman Mohyeldin, our detained Cairo correspondent, is also a US citizen.”
Since his detention came at the hands of the Egyptian military, it’s hard to believe orders to do so didn’t come from much higher up. Mohyeldin has been relentless in his shaping of the events as a popular uprising and speaking the “demands” of the people on the street. As I noted in an earlier blog post, Mohyeldin is representative of a new breed of journalist who’s unafraid to call a spade a spade in live coverage of events. Doubtless, this has not gone over well with the Mubarak régime.
One hopes that the military will realize the utter foolishness of seizing such a visible journalist in the Middle East and let him go immediately.
(UPDATE) Mohyeldin is a very familiar face to AJE fans and was at the very heart of the network’s coverage of atrocities in Gaza. A report on Twitter suggests he was taken into custody after questioning/suggesting that perhaps the military was responsible for snipers with laser-targeting killing protesters, even one who was trying to save a friend.
(UPDATE) Mohyeldin was release late this afternoon. I don’t think we’ll hear from him until tomorrow, and I’ll write something then.)