Ayman Mohyeldin

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Ayman Mohyeldin
Ayman Mohyeldin 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Mohyeldin at the 2011 Time 100 gala
Born (1979-04-18) April 18, 1979 (age 35)
Cairo, Egypt
Ethnicity (Egyptian)
Education American University
Occupation Journalist

Ayman Mohyeldin (Arabic: أيمن محيى الدين‎, IPA: [ˈʔæjmæn ˈmoħj edˈdiːn]; born April 18, 1979) is an Egyptian-American journalist based in Los Angeles for NBC News. Previously he worked for Al Jazeera and CNN, Ayman was one of the first western journalists allowed to enter and report on the handing over and trial of the deposed President of Iraq Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi Interim Government for crimes against humanity.[1] More recently, Ayman has covered the Gaza War[2] as well as the Arab Spring.

Early life[edit]

Mohyeldin was born in Cairo, Egypt to an Egyptian father, and a Palestinian mother. He grew up in Egypt, and the United States. He has lived extensively in the Arab World with two years in Iraq (2003–2005) as a foreign news producer with CNN.[1][3] Mohyeldin received his undergraduate education at American University in Washington D.C., earning a BA in International Relations with a focus on the European Union. He received an MA in International Politics with a focus on Peace and Conflict Resolution. His graduate thesis was entitled, "The News Media Paradigm in the War on Terrorism," and, in 2002, it was accepted by the International Association of Media Researcher's Conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Career[edit]

Mohyeldin in Gaza

Mohyeldin began his career in journalism working at NBC, as a desk assistant for the Washington D.C. bureau. Mohyeldin first major assignments happened shortly after 9/11.[3] In an interview with PRWeek, Ayman describes the opportunities that arose in the aftermath of 9/11: "There was a real shortage of people with language skills or expertise in the Middle East. Just because of my language skills and the timing, so to speak, I got a lot of experience. I was thrown into a mix of things that normally desk assistants at my level would not have gotten. I started working on some big pieces that had to do with investigating 9/11 and all kinds of international terrorist connections... I was doing translation mostly, but I was also developing themes or threads to stories that either had some Middle East connection to them or some type of Arabic language skills required. So it was an unbelievable experience at a really young age."[3]

Mohyeldin's coverage of major news events in the Arab World and Middle East include the Iraq War, the first multi-candidate presidential Egyptian elections in 2005, Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the 2005 Palestinian elections in the Gaza Strip. He has covered the Sharm al-Sheikh resort bombing (July 2005) and the Jordan Hotel bombings (November 2005).

As a producer, Mohyeldin became the first journalist to enter one of Libya's nuclear research facilities after producing Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi's first interview announcing Libya would abandon all WMD programs.[3] Mohyeldin's work in the CNN documentary "Iraq:progress report" about the daily struggles of Iraqis during the war was nominated for an Emmy Award. He served as an associate producer for the NBC News Special that also received Emmy nominations for "Ship at War: Inside the Carrier Stennis" and "Inside the Real West Wing."[3] Mohyeldin has also covered the annual Muslim Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca and was involved in the production of CNN specials "Islam: The Struggle Within" and "Hajj: A Spiritual Journey."

In 2008–2009, Mohyeldin covered the Israeli attack on Gaza. He became the first journalist to report on the intricate network of tunnels that were once used for smuggling of weapons and people across the Egyptian-Gaza border and are now a vital route into Gaza for medicine, food and fuel supplies.[4]

In 2011 Mohyeldin left Al Jazeera English and returned to NBC where he extensively covered the second "Arab Uprising" in Egypt in 2013. He also covered the unrest in Ukraine, and most recently the unrest in Iraq.

2011 Egyptian revolution[edit]

Mohyeldin covered the 2011 Egyptian Revolution for Al Jazeera English. On January 28, 2011, Ayman broadcast from the Al Jazeera news building in Cairo for several hours straight, reporting on the Egyptian protests as protesters and Egyptian police battled for control of the 6th October Bridge. On January 30, Anis El Fekki of the Egyptian Interior Ministry revoked Al Jazeera's broadcast license and forced the closure of their Cairo bureau, claiming the network was conspiring with opposition groups to overthrow the government. Ayman was one of five Al Jazeera journalists arrested and briefly detained by Egyptian authorities the following day, after the network refused to cease broadcasting upon the loss of their accreditation.[5]

On February 6, 2011, Mohyeldin was again arrested by the Egyptian military upon trying to enter Tahrir square. He was released nine hours later.[6][7][8]

On September 20, 2011, Mohyeldin joined NBC News, where his career began.[9]

In January 2012, Mohyeldin traveled to Syria to cover the months-old uprising. Among the cities he visited was Daraa.[10]

In the summer of 2013 Ayman extensively covered the removal of President Mohamed Morsi from power In Egypt. That fall he also extensively covered the Syrian civil war and the effects of refugees overflowing into neighboring Lebanon. Mohyeldin also covered the agreement of Syria to dispose of their chemical weapons program.

During the uprisings in Ukraine in 2014, Ayman covered extensively in both Kiev and Donetsk. He traveled to the border in Eastern Ukraine and reported on Russian troop buildup, and the Ukrainian response. He also went "behind the scenes" into the occupied government buildings to report.

2014 Israel–Gaza conflict[edit]

On July 16, 2014, Mohyeldin witnessed and reported via a series of tweets, the death of 4 Palestinian children who were playing soccer and hide-and-seek on a Gaza beach during the 2014 conflict.[11] Two Israeli missiles seemed to target the children. The first missile killed one child and the second killed the other 3. The killings were witnessed by many in the international press. Just moments earlier Mohyeldin was kicking a soccer ball with these boys in front of his hotel.[12][13]

Although Mohyeldin was a live witness to the event,[14] NBC correspondent Richard Engel reported the story from Tel Aviv. NBC followed by pulling Mohyeldin from Gaza and terminating his reporting duties from Gaza indefinitely. Engel was sent to replace him in Gaza.[15] NBC has been subsequently criticized by independent media outlets for removing Mohyeldin. NBC has not explained its actions[16] and reasons for pulling Mohyeldin.

Mohyeldin was returned to Gaza on July 18, 2014, after NBC received heavy criticism[17] for pulling him out of Gaza. NBC has offered no justification for either pulling him from Gaza, nor sending him back. On Sunday, Aug 3, 2014 Ayman announced via social media that after 4 weeks on the road he was "taking time to be with family.." Less than 48 hours later, Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease fire.

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