WASHINGTON – A US reporter for ABC News was beaten by thugs armed with clubs early Thursday while covering the unrest in Bahrain, the US network reported.
Correspondent Miguel Marquez was caught in the crowd and attacked while covering protests in Manama, ABC said.
Marquez, who said he was not badly injured, was clubbed while he was on the phone with his headquarters in New York describing the scene as riot police stormed through a Manama square in the dark in a harsh crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
“No! No! No! Hey! I’m a journalist here!” he yelled while still on the phone. “I’m going! I’m going! I’m going! I’m going! … I’m hit.”
He said that the thugs pulled his camera out of his hands.
“I just got beat rather badly by a gang of thugs,” Marquez said in a later call to ABC headquarters. “I’m now in a marketplace near our hotel where people are cowering in buildings.”
Witnesses and opposition said that four people were killed and up to 95 wounded when police launched the operation in the iconic Pearl Square without warning at around 3:00 am (midnight GMT), sending protesters fleeing in panic.
CBS News said its top foreign correspondent Lara Logan suffered a brutal sexual assault at the hands of a mob in Egypt while covering the downfall of president Hosni Mubarak last week.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday that it was concerned “about the continued assaults on journalists covering anti-government demonstrations in the Middle East.”
“In recent days, journalists have been obstructed, assaulted, or detained in Libya, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen,” the watchdog group said.
It also said the Bahrain government “has selectively reduced the speed of Internet connections inside the country for the past two days.”
The Internet is being slowed down “in newspaper offices, hotels, and homes but not in governmental institutions”, and the video-sharing website Bambuser had been blocked.
The CPJ also said that Bahrain interior ministry officials summoned a photographer for The Associated Press, Hassan Jamali, for questioning after he took “pictures of people injured in anti-government demonstrations” and ordered him “not take additional pictures of the injured.”