- Propaganda as a substitute for news reports in “Sada El-Balad” and “Mobtada” websites, defamation in “Cairo 24” (Media websites)
- Publishing false news insult and defamation at “On My Responsibility” and “Paper and Pen” TV shows (Media programs)
- Media mouthpieces in “Al-Ahaly” and “Al-Akhbar” newspapers, illogical news in “Al-Wafd” (Printed newspapers)
First: Media websites
“Mobtada” news website… Publicity not a report- “El-Watan”…Conviction without legal defense- “Youm7″… An opinion not a piece of news- “Cairo 24″…Defamation of an accused
1– On Tuesday 27 July, “Youm7” news website published a report that reads:
“Police reshuffle 2021 takes into account the functional and social rules”
“The transfer and promotion (reshuffle) of police officers aims to strengthen security directorates and public service bodies with the best elements, in terms of functional and health standards, so as to improve the security services provided to citizens. The reshuffle, also, takes into account the social and health conditions of officers, within the framework of the rules to achieve social, psychological and job stability.”
The report is initiated with a headline that carries an opinion on the police latest reshuffle; the journalist intruded himself into the news piece and applauded the move, which undermines the principle of impartiality. The editor continued to merge opinion with information in listing the objectives of the police reshuffle while praising it as if he is part of the story.
The remarks made in the report can be uttered by an official in the police apparatus while speaking about the goals and benefits of the reshuffle but cannot be uttered by a journalist whose role is limited to conveying information.
2- On Tuesday 27 July, “Mobtada” news website published a report that reads:
Hayah Karima”, governors remove obstacles to draw a smile on the faces of villages’ residents
The headline seems to be promoting propaganda- for Hayah Karima (Decent Life) Initiative-as is clear in the language used. It also displays a complete bias towards governors, which violates the principle of journalistic neutrality.
As for the body of the lengthy report, it is more of a narration of the governors’ efforts and activism in following up the implementation of the initiative, as it only bears praise for these efforts without giving any evaluation of them.
The report lacks objectivity and balance as it is devoid of any reference to the current conditions of villagers or any other opinions evaluating the Hayah Karima Initiative and the efforts exerted therein.
3- On 27 July, “El-Watan” news website published the following report:
“The Ethics Committee of the House of Representatives deemed it enough to blame MP Mohamed Abdel-Alim Daoud, after he was referred to it over accusation of insulting some members of the House, recommending that it would be enough to only put the blame on him.
Abdel Wahab Khalil, a member of the House of Representatives, told “El-Watan” that blaming is the least possible punishment that can be meted out to the accused, after he assured the committee that he (the accused) did not intend to offend his parliamentary colleagues and that he was only addressing general national issues.”
The news piece lacks the value and principle of balance and fairness, so it only came out with the punishment imposed on the MP Abdel Wahab Khalil, who in turn has the right to response, via the same website, to what was published about him and to punish the one who talked about him. The news report also lacks an important informational part; since it didn’t inform the reader of the (nature of the) accusation or offense directed by the parliamentarian against his colleagues and led, in return, to his punishment.
4- On 31 July, “Sada El-Balad” news website published a lengthy report that says: “Major General Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development, confirmed that the national project for the development of the Egyptian countryside’s villages, as part of the Decent Life “Hayah Karima” Initiative, is Egypt’s 21st century project. Shaarawy pointed out that no country in the world implements a project of this large size with total investments exceeding about 700 billion EGP over a period of 3 years.”
“This came during the participation of the Minister of Local Development today in the conference and exhibition of Dar Al-Tahrir for printing and publishing “Al-Gomhouria Newspaper” (Egypt – Al-Sisi.. and building the modern state) (7 years of construction, development and progress)…”
The report came as an act of propaganda because it only addresses the minister’s remarks and a government’s view of what is being planned. It lost the value of balance or any neutral opinion of economic and development experts, to comment on the minister’s speech and evaluate the project and its cost, or address the current situation of the Egyptian countryside. This news piece can be placed in a publicity or propagandistic framework and cannot be categorized under accurate balanced journalism.
5- On 31 July, “Cairo 24” published a news report that reads:
The “Hohos Girl” sister: “She blocked us on the “Tik Tok” in order not to see her obscene videos.”
Marwa A., sister of Yasmeen A., known on the “Tik Tok” application as “Kaa’in Al-Hohos” or (Hohos living being/organism), said that her family had broken off their relations with her and boycotted her because of her bad reputation in their district.
Marwa added, in statements to “Cairo 24”, that the Hohos girl blocked all family members on the “Tik Tok” platform, so that they would not see her indecent videos.
From its headline, the report relies on inflammatory and provocative material. It also carries a condemnation, defamation against an accused girl whose case is still in the course of deliberation before the judiciary. The journalist considered publishing only the first name of the girl’s sister as if he was preserving her privacy! But the news piece is attached to a picture of the accused itself which is totally considered to be defamatory for the defendant. The report, also, lacks any defense or opinion contrary to the defendant’s conviction making it devoid of the principle of fairness, one of the most important principles of journalism and justice. Here, therefore, the accused (girl) became convicted before being sentenced by the court while there is no space for him to defend himself.
6- On 31 July 2021, “Mada Masr” website published a news report that reads:
An integrated report on delaying the second dose of “AstraZeneca” Vaccine for citizens from 5 Egyptian governorates…
The report is informative, balanced and accurate. It followed all professional rules in disseminating information from all parties related to the news; starting with documenting the accuracy of the news by publishing what happened with one of the cases that were informed of the postponement of the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, to the journalist following up on the matter by calling the Ministry of Health’s hotline. The report also published documented information and statements by the Minister of Health about available vaccines and doses. The journalist’s laudable effort was crowned with outlining the medical impact of postponing the second dose of the vaccine, as clarified by Hamdi Ibrahim, member of the Scientific Committee to Combat Coronaviurs.
7- On Monday, July 2, “Mobtada” news website published a propaganda report, not a news report, saying:
“The Long Live Egypt Fund has launched a new convoy to provide food and new clothes to the most vulnerable families in the villages of Mandesha and Al-Qasaat, affiliated to “Al-Wahat Al-Bahryia” Center (in Giza governorate), within the two initiatives “Bel Hana w Al Shifa” and “Dokan Al-Farah”, in implementation of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s directives to intensify the fund’s activities in remote and border areas.”
“Bel Hana w Al Shifa and Dokan Al-Farah initiatives are part of the activities of the social protection axis, through which the Fund implements several initiatives to support the most vulnerable families and lift the burdens of living from their shoulders. Coordination is carried out with the Ministry of Social Solidarity to ensure that support reaches those who deserve it…”
The report sheds light only on the activity of the Long Live Egypt fund. It can be classified within the propaganda news in the electoral campaigns, but it does not fall within the news and press reports because it overlooked the most important humanitarian point, which is the families and their conditions which the Fund said are the number one priority. The report also left several press questions unanswered, including: what are the reasons for the deteriorating conditions of these families? Are these foodstuffs sufficient to meet the needs of these families? Are there sustainable solutions to change this deteriorating situation?
Second: Talk Shows
Ahmed Mosa and Nashat Al-Dihi practice defamation and spread false information
1- Nashat Al-Dihi at “Paper and Pen” program, episode of 2 August 2021
A section entitled (Prime Minister inspects the “Hayah Karima” projects)
Al-Dihi said commenting on the incident: “Look and see what the state is doing, those who speak out and are not satisfied with the country’s situation”. He added, “The slums that bring terrorists and mercenaries, aren’t they part of human rights for God’s sake? Where are the people who are yammering about human rights? Does anyone care about these issues (slums)? Or else they are just speaking about homosexuality and the girl who I don’t know what she wants, and you’ll find someone sitting in air-conditioned room arguing about freedom of expression and the right to object…”
Comment: The anchorman speaks to citizens in a tone of humiliation, as if governments’ job responsibilities and duties don’t include inspecting or following up on the projects they are in charge of for the benefit of the people. Al-Dihi also generalized and referred to the poor class as “the source of terrorists and mercenaries”, which constitutes an act of stigmatization and a bias towards particular class, a matter that contradicts the principles of the profession, not to mention the attack he launched against those working in the field of human rights making his program devoid of the principle of fairness and rather turns into a smear campaign and unsubstantiated accusations.
2- On 3 August 2021, Ahmed Mosa at “On My Responsibility” Program.
The program’s presenter said “The president took office in 2014, when the country does not exist and when chaos is all around, none of the services did exist at the time starting from gasoline till food supplies, and if any of which existed, it would available at great prices, inflation at the time reached 33%, but today you can see at which percentage the inflation rate has reached.
Comment: The presenter uses a language of exaggeration and propaganda based on false information; for inflation didn’t amount to 33%, but it was only 16% when Al-Sisi took the helm of power. The presenter backed away from accuracy and objectivity and took advantage of his platform to promote false information and figures.
3- Nashat Al-Dihi at “Paper and Pen” TV show, 3 August 10, 2021
A section entitled (“Hayah Karmia” Project, the development of the Egyptian countryside)
He said: “You know, Hayah Karima Project is the largest in Egypt. Does anyone have any doubts about that??! It is the largest project in the world. I swear to God, I’m not exaggerating nor flattering the government.”
Comment: The media report/section was turned from an informative or news report to a propaganda campaign promoting for “Hayah Karima” Project towards which the TV anchor shows his bias and, on the other hand, he didn’t present the other opinion, whether of an economic expert or other parties or information, so the broadcasting report lacks accuracy and objectivity, which violates the profession of journalism.
4- Nashat Al-Dihi, 4 August 2021
He said: “The Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Mohamed Salah Soltan, the son the terrorist MB affiliate residing in the United States, has just met with a member of the American Senate (the head of the Foreign Relations Committee for the Middle East) and the man is talking and saying that Egypt has 60,000 political detainees, Mr. Senator, review your accounts and information, I dare you to tell me from where you obtained such information. I am saying, Mr. Senator, you are a liar and ignorant.
Respond to him, the social media shall respond to him.”
In the same episode, he said: “Bahey El Din Hassan is in Geneva right now. What is he doing there? He brought his paper, notebooks, and bags and submitted a balance sheet to the human rights organization at the United Nations telling them what he had done to offend Egypt and how many reports he had made against the country. The man is submitting a balance sheet to clarify how many times he insulted his country in order to pay him money, and receive the funds, all from abroad, and don’t search for the truth regarding this point”.
Comment: The presenter directed his words to absent people and insulted the three men “Mohamed Sultan, the American Senator, and Bahey El-Din Hassan.” He also accused them of spreading false news, treason and ignorance, did not provide his viewers with documents or evidence to prove his statements or his denial of the reported numbers of political detainees, or any other information addressed by any of the three. He was completely biased towards his opinion, and only relied on it, which makes his report devoid of principle of fairness.
5- Ahmed Mosa, “On My Responsibility” TV show, on 4 August 2021
Commenting on the decisions of Tunisian President Kais Saied, he said:
“After the decisions taken by President Kais Saied, there has been a tendency and a movement from lawyers in Tunisia (to support the president) and demand the dissolution of Annahda Party, and then put it on the lists of international terrorism.
In other words, they took the model or case study of Egypt and worked on it. The Egyptian model is what is important in confronting the enemies of the homelands. Ghannouchi is a traitor, just like Badie, the Egyptian former MB Guide.
Comment: His media report has turned into a platform that promotes Egypt’s Terrorism Law and defames Rashid Ghannouchi, accusing him of terrorism without the existence of a ruling that convicts him.
6- Ahmed Mosa, “On My Responsibility” TV show, 8 August 2021
He said: “There’s no such thing as immunity, there is rather a case of flagrante delicto (when a suspect is caught in the act of committing the offense), and with reference to immunity, Hamden Sabahi was once arrested in front of the Journalists Syndicate…”
Comment: Once again, the anchorman is promoting false information; forHamden Sabahi wasn’t arrested in 2001 or 2002, but rather in March 2003, and he was not a parliamentarian at that time.
Third: Printed newspapers:
We can start from “Al-Ahaly” newspaper, in its weekly issue released on Wednesday, August 4
Abdel Wahab Khader wrote a report covering what is happening in Tunisia and the decisions issued by President Kais Seid, describing the protests and demonstrations organized by Tunisians at the time as a “revolution”, despite the fact that these protests came to an end right after the presidential procedures.
Also in the same newspaper, the third page’s headline reports about an Algerian mediation to resolve the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, as its reads: “An Algerian initiative based on the no-harm principle is under way, Sudan welcomes”. However, the news report is completely devoid of any details about the initiative; it just refers that Algeria had submitted an initiative, the details of which were not yet announced, although it asserts that the initiative, whose details are unknown, is welcomed by many countries.
– “Al-Wafd” newspaper, issue of 5 August 2021:
Hala Zayed, Minister of Health and Population, announced receiving 2 million and 630 calls via the hotlines 105 and 15335, to inquire about the services provided by the ministry, during the period from January 2021 to July 31.
Comment: Receiving two million calls in 7 months via only two hotlines is mathematically impossible; since the sum of days of the seven months is 210 days, equivalent to 5040 hours for two hotlines, so the output becomes 10080 hours. And if we divide this number of hours by the total of received calls (2 million calls), the outcome will be: 198 and a half calls per hour, i.e. three and a half calls per minute, without breaks at all, or delays in answering the calls, and without taking into account the long calls and inquiries!
– “Al-Akhbar” newspaper, issue released on 8 August
It published an article for “Iman Rashid” entitled “Feelings on the Edge of the Nation”, which tackles the course of the January Revolution from a perspective that Egyptians had never witnessed before. Rashid claimed that police officers were part of the revolution, which basically erupted to denounce the brutality of this security apparatus. She tacitly pointed out that first martyrs of the revolution were among the police forces and concluded her article by attempting to distort the facts and reality of the revolution alongside the pursuit of justice and dignity entrusting every noble work only to the men of the army and the police.
– “Al-Wafd” newspaper, Sports Section, issue of 8 August 2021
Nourhan Fadl wrote a piece of news reporting that Amr Gamal, former Al-Ahly player who is currently joining Tala’a El-Geish team, has signed with “Farco”, the newly promoted club to the Egyptian Premier League, adding that the player is expected to practically joined the team at the beginning of the new season.
The report stated that Amr Gamal decided to move to “Farco”, after negotiations with Zamalek Club faltered, despite his signing earlier, pointing out that Patrice Carteron refused to include him in the team.
However, by research, we learned that Amr Gamal didn’t want to sign for Zamalek in the first place, and that he insisted that his name remain associated with his old club, as he asserted in a phone interview to “Amir Hisham” program aired on Al-Ahly channel.
– “Al-Akhbar” newspaper, Page 6, issue of the 5th of August
A lengthy report on how the state and the Ministry of Health deal with the Coronavirus crisis. The report is entitled “The state defeated coronavirus in its three waves”.
Nevertheless, the incidents witnessed by Egypt in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and the government’s dealing with it indicate that the state, especially the Ministry of Health, was very poor in responding to the crisis and didn’t keep pace with the scale of the disaster. And what happened in Egypt’s hospitals – Al-Husseiniya Hospital for example- clearly proves this, not to mention the high death rate in Egypt in the disease outbreak during the first half of this year, witnessing an increase which the Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) deemed as “very dramatic.”
Moreover, according to a CAPMAS’ statement released yesterday (Monday), Egypt recorded an increase in coronavirus deaths by 14.9% during the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, while the percentage of increase was 31.3% compared to the same period in 2019.
The Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics asserted, in its statement, that the number of deaths increased by 16.8% during 2020 compared to 2019, recording 666.2 thousand deaths, compared to 556.9 thousand in 2019, indicating that this increase amounted to about 50 thousand cases during the first six months of 2021. Many health experts attributed this significant increase in death to coronavirus, especially since the Ministry of Health does not conduct a periodic survey to detect the number of infections.
– Al-Wafd newspaper, issue of 4 August
An un-sourced report says, “A congressional report released by U.S. Republican lawmakers that the coronavirus was prepared by Chinese scientists under unsafe conditions at the Wuhan Institute of Virology”, holding the Chinese redsponsible for all the mistakes that took place.
Contrary to Al-Wafd’s report, Al-Ahram newspaper published, in the August 3 issue, the same report but in a different way, as it says “A Republican report accuses Washington of complicity with China in creating the coronavirus at Wuhan”. Al-Ahram took the same path as Al-Wafd in not referring to a source, but it was completely different. How can one report differ between two newspapers when the source is obviously one?!
When we went to the source, we found that the congressional report was prepared by the White House Republican Committee staff and released by House Republican lawmaker, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He called for investigating the origins of COVID-19 which has killed more than 4.2 million people across the world, stressing that the abundance of evidence proves the virus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic had leaked from a Chinese research facility, a conclusion that US intelligence agencies did not reach. He also asserted that scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology – with the help of US experts and Chinese and US government funds – were working to modify coronaviruses to make it more infectious, adding that such manipulation can be hidden.
– Al-Ahram, issue of 5 August
A big headline reads “Nasser and Haykal’s media depends on professionalism more than freedom!” This is a major “professional” fallacy, as professionalism arises and is established from a fixed base, which is freedom, and without it nothing will be achieved. The headline also attempts to imply the unimportance of freedom for the press and the media as if there is a conflict between professionalism and freedom!
* The newsletter aims at documenting the most important topics and issues covered by the media in Egypt and the ways and extent of professionalism that marred the coverage of these topics. As prominent writer Norman Douglas said, “Don’t eat every dish the media offers you”, we urge readers not to believe everything they read, watch, or hear in various media outlets, before they think, question it, and know the difference between information and opinion, media and advertisement/commercials, criticism and defamation, and between blackout and disclosure. The same political writer also said “some forms of publicity (propaganda) invent a remedy for problems that do not exist”.
The newsletter does not exclusively list all the topics, news and articles included in different media outlets, but it rather gives examples of them, in a way that contributes to shedding light on the most important topics and the degree of professionalism and respect for media codes of honor.