The riveting footage coming out of Cairo and other Egyptian cities this morning has been all the more extraordinary given that there has been a coordinated government cutoff of social media, Internet, and wireless phones.

On top of this have been efforts by security forces to stop journalists from doing their work.

Brian Stelter of the New York Times writes: “A journalist for BBC Arabic, Assad Sawey, said he was beaten and arrested by plainclothes police officers on Friday. His shirt bloodied and his head bandaged, Mr. Sawey came on the BBC to convey what had happened. He said he would be going to the hospital after the live report.

“‘They took my camera away and when they arrested me, they started beating me with steel bars, the ones used here for slaughtering animals,’ Mr. Sawey said, calling the police officers ‘brutal.'”

Ben Wedeman of CNN reported that Egyptian police took the camera away of a colleague he was with.

Reporters for Al Jazeera English — which is not available in many U.S. homes but is streamed online — also has faced threats from police.

Alex Pareene writes on Salon that Al Jazeera is trumping the U.S. networks in covering the story. He writes, “Fox, CNN and MSNBC are all acquitting themselves better than they did the day Tunisia’s government collapsed. All of them have reporters in Cairo, and are airing footage of the demonstrations on the streets. But none of them are reporting on the situation as compellingly as Al Jazeera English, which has reporters across the country.”

Richard Adams of the Guardian noticed a shift in coverage by the U.S. nets, writing it “has all changed today, with the the extraordinary scenes from Egypt filling America’s TV screens – even if the early morning bulletins were more interested in Charlie Sheen’s hernia.”

Here’s one of the more disturbing shots of the day, which ran on CNN: