Egyptian prime minister: Arrest of journalists ‘not intended, my dear’

By David Edwards
Sunday, February 6, 2011 13:30 EDT
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Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq appeared to feign surprise Sunday when he was told that journalists and human rights activists had been arrested at anti-government protests in his country.

“Why are you detaining them?” CNN’s Candy Crowley asked.

“Oh, frankly speaking, it’s not intended at all my dear,” Shafiq replied. “I insist to assure all of the authorities here not to ban anyone or not to bother anyone doing his work. But during some periods, such as the period we’re passing now, you will not be — it’s rather difficult to be sure 100 percent that this man or [some] men [aren't exhibiting] some bad behavior.”

Shafiq added that officers who arrest reporters or activists should be “excused” because they may not know what the reporters and activists are doing at the protest, adding again, “This is not at all intended, my dear.”

Al Jazeera said last week that six of their reporters had been arrested and later released.

On Thursday, ABC News released a comprehensive list of dozens of reporters that had either been threatened or detained while doing their jobs.

Since then, Al Jazeera reporters Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros have also reportedly been arrested.

“We were told by our reporters today that you have arrested another Al Jazeera reporter from Al Jazeera English as well as more human rights activists,” Crowley told Shafiq. “Do you have a way to get them to stop those arrests?”

“After our telephone now, our contact now, I will go directly to check this point,” the prime minister said. “They are not allowed at all to do something like that.”

Shafiq also insisted that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would not leave office before September although demonstrators are calling for him to step down now.

“A lot of points must be covered before he leaves,” he said.

This video is from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast Feb. 6, 2011.

Watch this video on iPhone/iPad

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Zentrails/100001475536421 Bob Zentrails

    I seriously doubt that she is his “dear.”

  • Anonymous

    and what about censoring their own media?
    The Egyptian Woman Who Took on Her Government
    Shahira Amin, the anchorwoman who walked out of the state run broadcaster after it refused to cover the protests, tells NDTV she feels liberated. http://www.newslook.com/videos/288626-the-egyptian-woman-who-took-on-her-government?autoplay=true

  • Anonymous

    Egypt got change they can believe in.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EJCHJ2LWM3MGYUGHWB7ALWHE6M Kitty Antonik Wakfer

    “Oh, frankly speaking, it’s not intended at all my dear,” !!

    Would Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq (or any other Egyptian gov male) have responded in this manner – “my dear” – if the question had come from a man? Is this the way this man responds to women who ask embarrassing questions? His condescending manner is just too much! And the rest of his response leaves a reader/listener with much disbelief that he intends anything other than maintaining Mubarak’s and his own ruling positions.

    I have my doubts as to his level of “not understanding” questions on the state of emergency in Egypt since 1981… The inclusion of “1981″ and “declaration” in the questions ought to have made the meaning clear.

  • David R Velasquez

    What a load of crap. Shafiq is lying out of his ass.
    Read the NYT accounts of journalists being rounded up.

  • ce2756


  • Anonymous

    Next thing we will be told is there was confusion over whether those were microphones and cameras or weapons. Get out the hipboots the crap is getting knee deep.

  • Anonymous Bosch

    “Just lie back and think of free speech, my dear.”

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/XIWZRWAXJQKAJ4QEHKMVMCMLAY brian

    I’m Shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on here!

  • enorceht

    he must have taken lessons from bu$h on how to respond to reporters questions

  • jimbo92107

    Well, I guess that takes care of the journalist problem.

    Heckuva job, Candy!

  • Anonymous

    Memo to Candy: He’s laughing at you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    Yeah, the guy with the camera.. you’re not sure what he’s doing there…?

    you have to be some kind of special stupid to believe these slugs.

  • http://twitter.com/NihalNour Nihal Nour

    Sir, I am Egyptian. “My dear” is NOT a term of courtesy in Arabic! It might be, but ONLY in informal Arabic. No government official ever responded to a reporter / journalist with this provocative “my dear” either in Arabic or English!

    Formal conversations like these have nothing to do with cultural peculiarities. These are CODES of behavior and speech!