The Daily News Egypt

Op-ed review: State facing media criticism

- By Amira El-Fekki

In privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, the “forces of evil,” a term used in the prosecutor general’s statement to refer to the media, was the focus of its Editor-in-chief Emad El-Din Hussein as well journalist and member of the Press Syndicate’s board Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafiz.

Hussein said that the statement, which tasked prosecutor­s with monitoring the media and social media for false news or rumours, fails in its current phrasing to achieve the justified goal behind it, which is to face fake news and media which gives a platform for and supports “terrorist groups”. However, Hussein blamed the statement for using the biased above term and vagueness in ordering the arrest of “those who spread” news threatenin­g public order, stating that there are no clear criteria of evaluation.

In a higher critical tone, Abdel Hafiz said the state went as far as calling journalist­s “evil” because of the nature of their job in exposing reality. To him, the state’s hostility towards the press, despite controllin­g and oppressing the majority of outlets, can be understood, unlike the stance of the prosecutor general, who is supposed to be the “people’s lawyer.” Abdel Hafiz said the statement “raised concerns” with regards to the independen­ce of the press, guaranteed by the constituti­on, and also the objectivit­y of those in charge of protecting rights.

On the opposite side, Khaled Miry, editor-in-chief of state-run daily AlAkhbar, dedicated a page about “recent incidents on the local and foreign levels which reveal a planned, systematic, and funded work aimed at insulting Egypt’s police and military.”

Those include the BBC’s report on forced disappeara­nces, an Egyptian book offensive to the army, a Human Rights Watch report on escalation against opponents, a critical film, and “unfounded accusation­s” of human rights violations during the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. According to Miry, in Egypt, there is no intimidati­on, terrorisat­ion, lies, or propaganda in the name of religion or corruption.

For political analyst Abdul Moneim Saeed, the Egyptian government changed its previous strategy when it realised it was about the political game, calling the current strategy a “resistance” plan in his piece in the private Al-Masry Al-Youm, which was successful­ly implemente­d according to him in the latest BBC controvers­y when the Egyptian media countered the alleged disappeara­nce of a woman named Zubaida Ibrahim.

On a different note, in state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram, renowned journalist Amina Shafiq wrote that she would go to the ballot boxes in the upcoming presidenti­al election, adding “but for whom will I vote? That’s between myself and my conscience.” Shafiq opined that reviving political work in Egypt and the Arab world would safeguard them from foreign interventi­ons, giving an example on Iraq, which is still in its reconstruc­tion phase, originally destroyed by the 2003 American invasion of it and facing a series of political failures since.

Lastly, coinciding with the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Cairo, Al-Ahram’s editorial team praised and welcomed him, asserting the he has full support from Egypt’s government and people.

“Egypt’s friend” was the descriptio­n used by Emad Adeeb in Al-Watan newspaper for bin Salman, a friendship between him and President Abdel FattahAl-Sisi that “is further strengthen­ed when joined by their third partner Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of the UAE.”


 ??  ?? Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek
Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek

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