Opinion

Is Egypt Witnessing A Media Coup?

Is Egypt Witnessing A Media Coup?

By Sara Farouk Ahmed, a resident in Cairo. Please note, opinions expressed in this article are those of Sara and do not necessarily represent Egyptian Streets’ editorial policy.

 

"Enzel!" Egyptian media outlets - both printed and digital - called on Egyptians to join protests called for by the Military
“Enzel!” Egyptian media outlets – both printed and digital – called on Egyptians to join protests called for by the Military

‘News’, especially foreign ‘news’, has been devalued to the point where you choose to watch, listen or read opinions that you agree with – where reports contain edited calls and tweets, and polls, that back up their/your take on what is happening in the world, are conducted. Egypt has been subject to this kind of biased speculation, agenda driven and blind reporting rather than any form of reputable investigative journalism.

The foreign media did a spectacular job in January 2011. By focusing on Tahrir Square, they persuaded the world that the whole of Egypt was in turmoil thus all but destroying the tourist industry and any form of investment. Luxor [and, by default, Qena, Naga Hamadi, Dendera, Kom Ombo, Esna and Aswan] was on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Offices’  ‘Don’t Travel’ list for three months and virtually nothing happened there. Cairo, Suez, Alexandria and, wait for it, 6 October City were on the list for six months. Even the UN suggested sending a peace keeping force.

Within a week after the jails had been broken into, had the various journalists ventured two streets away from Tahrir they could have reported that, although there had been a successful uprising against Mubarak and some opportunist looting, life was going on as normal. They chose not to, why?

Then, eventually, we had the election and the same journalists reported that it was between ‘the army man’ and ‘the Islamist’. Not ‘the guy who transformed Cairo’s International Airport into a facility to be proud of’ and ‘the ex-convict’. There was no mention of the cheap bread, meat and rice that was being doled out prior to the election by the Muslim Brotherhood. Not a single mention of the fact that they threatened to flood Egypt with “rivers of blood” if Morsi did not win the presidency. Neither did they report that Brotherhood Imams were preaching that the people who didn’t vote for Morsi would go to hell.

In November 2012 Morsi declared himself above the law and pushed through a new constitution, unconstitutionally. A referendum was held without said constitution being published, and therefore, people voted for something they knew virtually nothing about. There were huge peaceful demonstrations against this move –the Brotherhood responded with fatal attacks and kidnappings. Morsi even labeled the hundreds of thousands that took to the streets as “thugs and maggots.” Yet, the foreign media didn’t even bother to send correspondents. It wasn’t important enough.

This move by Morsi initiated a monumental change as, for the first time, Egyptians witnessed the vast numbers of protesters and the acts of violence committed by the Brotherhood.

The majority of the people were angry that the president had gone back on his promises of inclusiveness, that he appeared to be running the country for his own party and not for the people, that any semblance of democracy was slipping away and that Egypt was, actually, being sold down the river along with its entire infrastructure.

Yet, Tamarod had a brilliant idea: start a petition asking for Morsi to step down. On the June 30, the 22 million people that signed the petition, and many more, either took the streets. The millions on the streets cannot be denied, as there is plenty of footage of the demonstrations on social media forums. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood held a rally at a crossroads in Cairo, in Rabaa Al-Adaweya.

Millions of Egyptians took to the streets against Morsi
Millions of Egyptians took to the streets against Morsi

This time the foreign media did not concentrate on Tahrir but on the Rabaa crossroads. They did not highlight Morsi’s speech where he incited his followers to violence. They did not compare his response to the will of the people with that of Mubarak. They supported the Brotherhood’s claim to legitimacy and excused their militias by stating that they were frightened of attack. They focused on the fact that Islamist television channels had been blocked without mentioning the violent rhetoric of said channels.

The foreign press did not reveal that they were being given exclusive access to minaret views of the crossroads while Egyptian National TV channel personnel and vehicles were being attacked. They called what happened on July 3rd a military coup, while ignoring that the army are the only people who can remove a president [as they guard him] and that they did so at the behest of the people. They called for Morsi to be released from remand even though he had committed a criminal act. They endlessly talked about the country being split, without referring to percentages. They described the attacks by Morsi supporters as ‘clashes’ thus implying that both sides were there for a fight, potentially leading to a civil war.

They did not focus on Tahrir this time and, if they did, they forgot to mention what was going on in the rest of the country. They did not mention that it was the same (and more) people in Tahrir that they had supported so readily in 2011. This is a complete turn-around from January 2011. But the end game is the same.

In short, they gave the Morsi supporters hope, and the violent crimes that have resulted from this are on their hands.

At last we get to Egypt’s Military Chief, Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi and today’s speech in which he asked the people to fill Egypt’s squares in order to provide security services with a mandate to fight terror and violence.

Al-Sissi asked “That all the honorable and good Egyptian people take to the streets. Why?
To give us [the army and police] a mandate to control the terrorism and violence that could happen in the future.”

Why does it matter?

It matters that the whole world sees that the army and police are acting at the behest of the Egyptian people. Until now the army and police have had their hands tied by the foreign media. They have watched the Brotherhood kill their own supporters in attempts to set them up. They have watched them publish photographs of dead people in Syria and claim them as victims of army aggression during their protests. They have watched innocent people being beaten, shot at, murdered, stripped and hung up on display. They have watched because any move against these violent thugs would have been reported in the foreign media as “Fascist, Army Backed, Regime Attack and Arrest Protesters After Military Coup.” Thanks to the foreign press, the chief of the Egyptian army has been put in a position where he cannot help the people of Egypt.

Egypt's Military Chief, Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, during his address.
Egypt’s Military Chief, Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, during his address.

They will not focus on his explanation of the lead up to the July 3rd, and they will not mention that Al-Sissi stated, “I have never asked for anything before and I know it is not my right to do so, but I am asking you to take to the streets as you did on the June 30 and July 3 because you make the decisions and the power is in your hands. The decision here is whether you allow the army and police to deal with any future violence and terrorism. I am asking you to show the whole world your numbers. This is not a call for violence or for any of you to be involved in violence.”

They will focus on revenge and call it an incitement to civil war. They will not mention that part 52 of the constitution orders the army to protect Egyptian citizens from acts of terrorism.

They refuse to realize that Al-Sissi is asking for a mandate to put a stop to future violence, and they will not see that the Brotherhood’s response damns them as being the ‘terrorists’ they are. All the Brotherhood need to do is stop committing acts of violence and wait for the next election: an election that will be free and fair. As Al-Sissi said, “We have told everybody who came to us that anyone, from all over the world, the UN the EU, that anyone is welcome to come and monitor the next election.”

However, Friday will show the world, again, that whatever power the foreign media think they have, pictures, to use their own words, do not lie. The world needs to see that the army and police are the people of Egypt.

God bless the peaceful Egyptian people and the forces that protect them.

 

 Do you have a different opinion? Share your views by commenting on this article or submitting an opinion piece to [email protected]

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  • S

    A fascinating article. Would have been nice to have references to support certain bold statements.

    • Salim

      What is so fascinating about it? It is all fabricated, what you call “Bold Statement” is nothing but a lie, that they did not care to prove it. I think they believe the readers are so Uninformed, that they think that if you write fancy dramatic statements, they will take it as truth. I cant believe that some people are so naive!!! or they enjoy falsehood…

  • Tania

    I agree… Thanks for article

  • Reblogged this on World Chaos News.

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  • Nelson

    I agreed 100% with the article, Aljazeera is one of the cause of problems in Egypt. I do listen to all their news and all they say’s is supporting the MB which is very bad of a media to do so. What ever the MB does they didn’t talk about it but the Military Action, I suggest the Egyptian Government should barn the foreign medial for reporting fake and un-true story to the world cos they are not helping the situation in Egypt but making it getting more worst and making people going against the action of the Military. Any one that says the foreign media is reporting the true story should come down to egypt and see it him/her self and should not listen to these foreign media only but the local media and purchase the news paper for the foreigner’s that didn’t understand Arabic there is english news paper that they can read am not in support of any side of the party but it’s unfair for a media to be backing up the MB so that the whole world can believe what they are doing is right

    • Salim

      first give your real name, not “western name” and stop lying,, many has their brain messed up!DO you mean , let us keep “lying” within local media?, foreign is not good! if they be fair?

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  • Salim

    This is a hotchpotch dubbed, “analysis” is nothing more that a bunch of lies coming from the kitchen of “mubareks” remnants, to smear the MB by lies. The truth will eventually prevail. What I see is a counter conspiracy by the special interest groups, and of course Israel and its agents are not far behind. The army as a fascist organization led by a new dictator, with sunglasses, and his puppets (bunch of traitors in a sleeper cell waiting for the orders to move against the will of people, when need be) , followed by the church and all opportunist politicians, like the baradi’es, and Umr musa, and many more. Are trying to oppress the will of the masses of Egyptians, and bring them back on the heels with another autocratic dictator, and another cycle begins.

    Mursi was elected, and he is steadfast in his standing. This is why they are furious by fabricating all kinds of false accusations, like cooperating with Hamas. I wonder would they level the same accusations, if he was cooperating with Israel?

  • maria

    Although in general I do agree with the contents of the article, I have my doubts about the last part. At the age of 65 I have seen enough of international politics to have any trust in a positive outcome when actions are based on hatred.
    Egypt is in a very severe economic crisis from which its citizens (from all sides) are suffering. The only way to solve this is by joining hands and start rebuilding together.
    People say they want democracy but giving the army mandate to deal with fellow citizens who have a different point of view in a way they see fit, is definitely not a democratic way to solve a crisis.
    I wish for all Egyptions from any religion that this holy month of Ramadan will be used for reflection and that their actions will be pointed to rebuilding instead of destruction.

  • Reblogged this on Ned Hamson Second Line View of the News and commented:
    Don’t agree that there is a media “coup” of any sort but the international news is more than a bit simplistic and does take to framing the news according to the views of the leaders of their nations or owners. That happens worldwide and is one of the reasons that sources like Egyptian Streets help to balance the news.

  • Asmaa

    Mabrook! Beautifully written with truth! As an American living in Egypt for 3 years now I see how twisted the media can be. Thank you

  • IRIE

    I am not Egyptian, but have been in Egypt before the Jan 25 revolution until now. This articule is no where near the facts as to what is going on in Egypt. I have seen many other articules and they are all one sided. This thing going down in Egypt is not a one sided thing. Both sides have people manipulating the poor people, both sides are playing the religious card and both sides have their hired thugs. One thing I notice everyone seems to be quick to forgive people who killed the 1000+ protestors and totured many people. No one see these acts as terrorist acts, but I notice how they make sure the Mb are labeled as terrorist even though their crime rate is less than the opposition group which now includes the NDP. Make no mistake the army and the people are not one hand. The army is from the people!

    The people who are complaining about the bias media! check yourself the same people who used the media to scare people during the Jan 25 revolution are the same people using it to scare people again. This time they are playing the terrorism card. The only thing these people care about is power control and money. Like the author said just go away from the main roads and see how disgusting and run down and dirty those places are, not to mention the cemetaries has more live people than dead people living there yet the author is raving about how lovely the airport looks compliment of Shafik. Everyone seems to forget the real reason the young people went out to protest Jan 25th.. All it is now is the POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK!

  • pat

    totally agree Cass

  • Philippe

    Excellent analysis. One mistake. Western media should be: ‘American media’, since in Europe we are perfectly informed about the goals of the coup and the undemocratic behaviour of Morsi and the Brotherhood.

    • The BBC have not been any better.

    • pat

      I trust you do not follow aljazerra then? and the BBC is no better.

      • IRIE

        nobody is reporting the truth! most of them dont no the truth, not even the poor people who go out to protest know the truth..

        • Ashraf

          Irie: we, Egyptians, know one truth that is the MB were driving Egypt towards segregation and eventually separation into multiple states, two and maybe three, the MB can’t exist without an enemy, this time they picked the wrong one, the majority of the Egyptian people and more importantly Egypt and its existence. You talk about demonizing the MB, they themselves were the strongest driver behind showing the demon figure in them to Egyptians. I agree with you media is biased, the proof is ever so evident in “al jazzerah” and no less in CNN, where you see utter nonsense and truly one sided story!
          Lastly, this is Egypt and Egyptians will decide what goes on from here on, we might have been driven by steered media during the 25th revolution but now the driver is the will of most to live in Egypt as we knew it and grew in it with the hope and will to make stronger and better and nothing else matters.

          • IRIE

            Yes, which Egyptians are you speaking for? Most of you people on here have no idea about your own country, only the area where the first class people hang.
            We have been steered by the media during the Jan 25 revolution? This right here tell what hyprocrite you are. You mention the CNN and al Jazzerah as the only bias media. What about the Egptian media? I can tell how much you know anything about Egypt and its people. I might have not been born and raised here, but I tell you something, you have a lot to learn about your country and its people to catch up with me. Lastly, which Egyptians will decide what goes on from here? Most Egyptians do not understand what the heck is going on, never mind deciding their future. Some of you people make sure the media they see is what you all want them to see, and on top of that many cant read for themselves to made good choices,so they just go by the BS told to them. Then you all act like you all care anything about the people that really needed help..

    • Nelson

      Only the CNN is little better

  • Cass

    Brilliant – this sums up my frustration with the media since the ousting of Murbaruk and allegedly Democratic Election which was won by a mere 1% – probably the “scared not to” 1% of voting people
    Finally the “sensationalist” reports from the media – in accurate (“Tanks going through the main streets of Sharm” in Jan 2011 – BBC NEWS)
    Tourism destroying comments and bias reporting has cost this country much more than the peoples protests ever could.

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