Irish embassy stepped in after Trump administration 'allowed New York Times journalist to be arrested in Egypt'
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Irish embassy stepped in after Trump administration 'allowed New York Times journalist to be arrested in Egypt'

THE NEW YORK TIMES have claimed that they had to turn to the Irish embassy for help when one of their journalists was on the verge of being imprisoned in Egypt, after discovering that Donald Trump's administration refused to step in.

New York Times publisher AG Sulzberger says that two years ago, they received a phone call from a US government official who claimed that one of their journalists, Irishman Declan Walsh, was about to be arrested by Egyptian police.

His crime? Reporting on the death of an Italian student who was killed in Cairo.

The body was found with torture marks, and the story was a sensitive subject in Egypt, where Walsh was stationed at the time. Nevertheless, getting arrested for writing about it? That's ludicrous.

The American publication claims that Trump, who's regularly referred to reporters as 'enemies of the people', and his administration were happy to let the arrest take place.

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The government official who'd phoned to warn the paper about the arrest apparently did so without the knowledge or permission of Trump and his aides.

"Unable to count on our own government to prevent the arrest or help free Declan if he were imprisoned, we turned to his native country, Ireland, for help," Mr Sulzberger said.

Within an hour, Irish diplomats travelled to Mr Walsh's house and escorted him to the airport before Egyptian forces could detain him.

"We hate to imagine what would have happened had that brave official not risked their career to alert us to the threat," added Sulzberger.

Mr Walsh has said that when he contacted the Irish Embassy in Cairo and Ambassador Damien Cole they "moved very fast".

"I grabbed a few things and we went immediately to the airport from there and I took a flight to Europe, the first flight I could get out," Walsh said.

Fake News

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I can hear the cries now: 'Fake News!' ... from those who don't like what they're reading.

The distrust in media that's now - let's be honest - widespread, is very dangerous. That is at least according to the man who was nearly arrested unjustly in a foreign land because of it - Mr Walsh himself.

"For decades there's been an unwritten assumption that the US government would step in extreme moments, moments of peril for reporters who work for American papers," Walsh told RTE.

"But under the Trump administration that assumption has been challenged."

The rhetoric, he argues, that's coming from the White House and from Donald Trump himself that journalists are the people's enemies is one that's emboldening foreign leaders to "do what they want" and is endangering the livelihoods of American journalists abroad.