News / Middle East

Egypt's Pro-Military Media Decried, Defended

Egypt's Pro-Military Media Decried, Defendedi
X
October 22, 2013 3:59 PM
Egypt's media have moved, almost as one, to back the military-led government. While press freedom groups have condemned the stifling of a free media, some defend the one-sided coverage as key to Egypt's "war on terror." VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
Elizabeth Arrott
Egypt's media have moved, almost as one, to back the military-led government.  While press freedom groups have condemned the stifling of a free media, some defend the one-sided coverage as key to Egypt's "war on terror."

Egyptian state television offers constant reminders that the nation is at war, running the banner “Egypt Fights Terror” in an endless cycle. And there are few battlegrounds as contested as the media itself.

Since the July ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, stations sympathetic to him have been shut down. Reporters have been arrested and others driven underground.

Press freedom groups decry what Reporters Without Borders calls a “clear hostility towards media that fail to sing the army’s praises.” But some long-time champions of free speech see the need.

Political Sociologist Said Sadek of the American University in Cairo says, “There are moments in history when human rights and freedom of expression and media, they have to take a pause unfortunately. This is a political reality, not political illusions.”

Sadek is among many who say national salvation is now at stake. But military attempts to curry favor in the media were evident even before the coup. A leaked video shows military chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi earlier this year discussing ways to influence key media figures, with Sissi asking how the military can “intimidate” them.

While critics point to military strong-arming, there appears to be genuine support for a monolithic voice. Sadek says the dissenting reports of the foreign media - seen as supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and their protests - are a problem.

“Some of the journalists who came to Cairo, you know, are so romanticizing: 'Oh this is pro-people,'" he said.

Their reports ignored the calls to violence and other hate speech of some Islamist media, he says.

Whatever the justification for the pro-military tilt and the suppression of free press, the pitfalls are clear. Professor Christian Donath of the American University in Cairo says the demonizing of the Muslim Brotherhood may have short term advantages, but does not bode well for the future.

“The problem with the kind of language they use makes it more difficult to conduct negotiations in the future with the Brotherhood and its supporters," said Donath. "And it is difficult to see how Egypt is going to return to the kind of stability that the government is calling for, the average people in the street want, without some sort of reconciliation.”

But with journalists avoiding arrest by showing only the military's side of the story, a more balanced view seems a long way away.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid