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Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Sexual assault, beating of CBS correspondent in Egypt highlight perils female journalists face



A little more than a week after she was detained by Egyptian authorities, CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan is recovering in a U.S. hospital after being sexually assaulted and beaten by a mob in Cairo on Friday, Feb. 11, according to the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

CBS reported the assault Tuesday, Feb. 15. Beyond providing a basic account of what occurred, CBS said it would provide "no further comment" and "correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time." CBS also said Logan now is at home recuperating.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released a statement saying it was "alarmed" by the attack against Logan, a CPJ board member, as she was covering the celebratory rallies after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned. "We have seen Lara's compassion at work while helping journalists who have faced brutal aggression while doing their jobs," CPJ Chairman Paul Steiger said in the statement. "She is a brilliant, courageous, and committed reporter. Our thoughts are with Lara as she recovers."

Commending journalists who "work under the most adverse of circumstances," the National Press Club called on Egyptian authorities to investigate the attack against Logan, and bring to justice those responsible.

The assault on Logan highlights the risks to female reporters, The Atlantic said. Considering that most media outlets do not release the names of victims of sexual assault, The Atlantic speculates that CBS had Logan's permission to release the news of her attack, which "makes her one very brave woman."

In 2007, the Columbia Journalism Review examined sexual abuse of foreign correspondents, noting that often sexual assaults against reporters go unreported. "Such lack of public discussion might explain why, amazingly, there are no sections on sexual harassment and assault in the leading handbooks on journalistic safety...When one considers the level of detail over protections against other eventualities–get vaccinations; pack dummy wallets, etc.–the oversight is staggering."

News of the attack on Logan has circulated across media outlets, the Internet, Twitter and Facebook. NPR published a statement explaining why it removed public comments about the attack on Logan, as the comments "violated NPR.org's discussion rules." NPR gave insight into the decision by giving the public two things to keep in mind: 1) "There's much we don't know about what happened. Until we learn more, for example, jumping to conclusions about her attackers adds nothing to the discussion. They're criminals. Period." And 2) "Blaming the victim is an old, tired game. Please don't."


Other Related Headlines:
» Politics Daily (Lara Logan Assault: For Female Reporters, the Added Peril of Turbulent Places)
» Forbes (Female War Reporters Under Sexual Attack Overseas? All The Time)

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