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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs