UPDATE WITH IPI STATEMENT
By James Reinl
UNITED NATIONS (AA) – An international media watchdog on Wednesday called for the immediate release of four Anadolu Agency employees in Egypt, who were detained in a raid on their office in the capital Cairo.
In a statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said it had contacted the Egyptian Prosecutor General's Office and State Information Service for more information about the police operation but was awaiting a response.
"Journalists operating in Egypt should not have to work in fear that they will be used to settle political scores between countries," said Sherif Mansour, the group's coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.
"Authorities must immediately release the Anadolu News Agency staffers arrested yesterday, and stop using false news charges to harass and silence the media," he added.
Egyptian police raided the Cairo office of Anadolu Agency on Tuesday evening.
The detainees, which include one Turkish citizen, were taken to an unknown location.
Meanwhile, the Vienna-based International Press Institute "strongly" condemned the "blatant attack" on Anadolu Agency and its journalists by Egyptian security forces.
In a statement, the IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said: "Authorities in Cairo must immediately release all four journalists and explain the reason for their arrest."
Turkey condemned the raid and called for the immediate release of the four employees.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Wednesday said his colleagues were looking into the incident and reiterated his concerns over the protection of journalists in all corners of the globe.
According to the CPJ, the Middle East is one of the world's worst regions for media freedoms, with broad restrictions on newspapers and other media outlets and widespread harassment and detention of reporters.