Egypt media accused of siding with military
London – Arab Today
Egypt’s state media and private-owned channels are accused of political bias to the military and the interim government.
Head of the EU-Middle East Forum
, Sarah Hartmann said a “media war”, is raging in the country. She added, “It is extremely difficult to tell what is really happening from all those different reports and figures".
According to sources, since the ousting of former President Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian army mass media outlets are siding with the army and opposing the toppled Islamist Muslim Brother party. They claim journalists who report positively on pro-Morsi demonstrations are being put under pressure, while some have been arrested by the police.
Egypt has a tradition of biased reporting, said Berlin-based political scientist Hamadi El-Aouni. He added, "Following the revolution in 1954, the Egyptian state under President Gamal Abdel Nasser decided that the media should play a strategic role."
According to observation by the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, in last year’s presidential elections many Egyptian newspapers drew attention to small groups of Egyptian expatriates who were opposed to Morsi, whilst a larger group of supporters in the country and abroad were mostly ignored.
Al-Aouni said this style of reporting is still going on. He added, “Reporting in Egypt means serving as a mouthpiece of the politicians, state and government”.
He said after the arrest of Morsi, Egyptian heads of newspapers were initially very cautious.
Managing editor of the Al-Ahram newspaper told German journalist, “Every chief editor of a state newspaper is still waiting to see what direction the new regime will take and what expectations on the part of the army he needs to take into account”.
Some analysts believe millions of pro-Morsi supporters do not have a voice in the country’s media. There is still very little mention of the casualty numbers resulting from the clearing of the protesters’ camp in Cairo.
However, Al-Aouni said international organisation are acting as a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood, and accused Al Jazeera of running a propaganda campaign for the group.
He said certain ‘religious broadcasters’ backed by billionaires from the Persian Gulf states, are propagating an Islamic philosophy in Arab countries.