First: News websites
“Sada El-Balad”…the “everybody agrees” miracle, “Mobtada”… the journalist is the one who judges
1- “Youm7” website published, on 14 August, a news report that says:
“Youm7 TV broadcasted a live report in front of Sidi Gaber residential building where the terrorist group (MB) committed their crime by throwing children off a roof killing the 19-year-old martyr Mohamed Badr.
It’s noteworthy that the 19-year-old martyr, Mohamed Badr, known as Hamada, was thrown from the fifth floor, when he and 4 other children tried to confront the terrorist group on the 5th of July amid the riot and violence incidents carried out by the terrorist group, in retaliation for the June 30 Revolution in Sidi Gaber Square located few steps away from the apartment block. Children, consequently, combated the group’s members from the top of the building by throwing stones at them, so they raced to the roof to attack the children and threw Mohamed Badr off the building from the fifth floor and he was martyred”.
The report lacks accuracy and credibility as it used exaggerated language when it says “by throwing children from the roof of the building,” that means there is more than one child, and this didn’t happen as the same report mentioned. Then the report said that the martyr is the 19-year-old Mohamed Badr which means that he is not a child as it asserts. The language used in the report relies on the idea of over-dramatization for the aim of distortion without any attempt to be neutral or mentioning any defense of the other party leading to a complete lack of fairness.
2- A report by Mada Masr published, on 14 August, under the headline:
“The repercussions of the “Lord” workers’ strike…The Company’s administration dismisses 34 of its new workers, investigates 50, on charges of inciting a strike and harming the company…
The Lord Company for Trade and Industry in the Alexandria Amreya Free Zone has terminated the contracts of 34 new workers. The company’s administration, since last Wednesday, has also begun investigating the 2000 workers who participated in the strike.
Emad Al-Nabawi, a labor lawyer and one of the company’s employees, told Mada Masr that about 50 workers who participated in the strike are being investigated daily, as the adminstration blames them for the material and moral losses incurred by the company, and accuses them of inciting the strike. The investigations are expected to continue until next Monday.”
Mada Masr website has exclusively published this report; as you cannot find it on any other news website, which is a good thing. However, the report only shed light on the workers’ point of view and complaints and didn’t mention the other party (the administration)’s point of view in the investigations conducted with the workers. So the report is devoid of the principle of balance and fairness.
3- Sada El-Balad published, on 15 August, a report under several headlines:
The Health Ministry: A campaign to provide reproductive health services is launched for free in 10 governorates…Parliamentarians: it reduces reproductive rates and early detection of genetic diseases.. The state is working to enhance the lives of citizens…
Dr. Hala Zayed, Minister of Health and Population, announced the launch of a stimulus campaign to provide a free of charge family planning and reproductive health services and means in 10 governorates nationwide, under the slogan “Your Right to Organize”, during the period from August 15 to August 26, as part of the periodic campaigns conducted by the Ministry, within the framework of concern for the health and development of the family and the implementation of Egypt’s Vision 2030.
A group of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate applauded the move and the political leadership’s efforts in confronting the increase in population, as it is the most dangerous for society at the present time, stressing that launching this campaign will have a positive impact.
Several reports by Egyptian news websites continue to make the miracle of the agreement on one opinion, and it is indeed a miracle in the world of journalism and even life. You can find that all MPs who comment on the campaign support it without giving a single note on the state’s efforts in this regard, which is something that never happens. The nature of journalistic work is to introduce the different points of view and the divergence of opinion is the nature of human beings. But in this report, as in previous ones, you find complete agreement on one point of view. Among the views presented in the campaign regarding the reduction of childbearing rates is the one that says that only two children in a family should be allowed, and this point of view, alone, could create controversy in Egyptian society. So, it is clear that the report lacks the principle of journalistic balance and fairness by presenting one point of view that only praises the efforts of the political leadership.
4- “Mobtada” news website published, on 15 August, a propaganda report on the complaints system in the Council of Ministers saying:
The unified governmental complaints system in the Council of Ministers has succeeded in resolving a number of complaints from citizens, in coordination with the ministries, governorates, and all competent government agencies and apparatus. It works to achieve appropriate responses and provide the necessary support and assistance to complainants according to the nature of each of them.
In this regard, Tariq Al-Refai, director of the system, said: The unified complaints system, headed by the Council of Ministers, seeks to implement the directives of the political leadership and the Prime Minister regarding sparing no effort to respond to citizens’ complaints and appeals, in order to alleviate suffering and provide possible assistance to those who prove their eligibility, and in line with the various presidential initiatives to provide a decent life for citizens.”
The lengthy report begins with the journalist intruding himself into the news piece and negatively affecting the impartiality principle; as it says in its first words: “The unified government complaints system in the Council of Ministers has succeeded”, here the journalist made his own judgment on the Cabinet’s complaints system, turning the report, from its beginning, to propaganda or a promotional advertising. The journalist then quoted the system’s administrator as listing some types of cases that have been dealt with, limiting the report to his statements without making any effort to search for cases that have complaints that have not been responded to. The report bears only one point of view and as a result it completely loses its credibility and becomes a propaganda report only.
5- El-Watan news website published, on 16 August, a report that reads:
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi directed yesterday, during his meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, in the presence of a number of ministers, to reformulate the assets and lands of agricultural research centers in the delta governorates in terms of service and development as much as possible, with a focus on multiple uses, in cooperation and coordination between local government agencies, governorates, the Ministry of Housing and the New Urban Communities Authority.
The report then went on saying:
“The report pointed out that 30 animal production farms and 40 fish farms, which had not been operating for a long time, have been leased, resulting in maximizing the economic return, increasing productivity and providing job opportunities. Additionally, 200 fish farms have been auctioned and the awarding of contracts is still underway, alongside adjusting the rental value of some assets whose lease contracts are about to expire, to make it match the current market value.”
When you read the report, you will find that it links President Sisi’s directives with the formulation of the Ministry of Agriculture’s assets and properties, which was issued during a meeting that “took place yesterday”, as the report mentioned. However, you can find an earlier report -preceded the directives of the President- issued by the Ministry of Agriculture enumerating the achievements made in the new direction of the Ministry in exploiting its assets. This earlier report said the same information mentioned in the recent report, including that 30 farms for animal production were leased, etc. leading to a clear confusion in the chronological order of the report. It is as if the journalist only wanted to link what was achieved in the ministry with the president’s new directives. The report also lacked accuracy and objectivity in the information that explains why these assets were not exploited during the past years!
Second: Talk Shows
1- “Al-Hayah Al-Youm” TV show, Mohamed Sherdy, episode of 10 August
A phone interview with the Minister of Communications and Information Technology about Egypt University of Informatics (EUI):
- Minister: We are under contract with two American universities; the first is Purdue University….
- Anchorman: Just a second, Purdue University! You’re speaking about one of the top 10 in the world
- Minister: Exactly
The anchorman used promotional language when speaking about the above-mentioned university, without having confirmed information from a reliable source that proves whether it is really one of the top ten universities in the world or not. This is considered unprofessional and misleading behavior. The minister also confirmed such information while there is no source that proves it.
2- “Al-Hayah Al-Youm” TV show, Mohamed Sherdy, episode of 11 August
A part/section under the theme “Rashid Ghannouchi admits: those who do not listen to their people are arrogant and we will support Qais Saeed”.
The presenter commented: “Rashed Ghannouchi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated movement “Al-Nahdda” suddenly comes out saying that;
His movement has received the message of the people and that it will declare its self-criticism with courage. Isn’t he the one who said that he will push millions of people to the street and will make the country slip into chaos and destruction….
Here, the anchorman used his media window to spread misleading and inaccurate information, as Rachid Ghannouchi didn’t make any threats of violence or sabotage following the decisions of Tunisian President Qais Saied.
3- “Al-Hayah Al-Youm” program, anchorman Lobna Aasal, episode of 14 August
A part/section entitled ” Writer and political thinker Mokhtar Noah: The West has used human rights as a means and weapon for achieving political purposes.”
- Anchorwoman: A number of countries -which are concerned with this file- limit human rights to political rights only. We are here talking about the significant shift in social and economic rights, the human right, the right of the Egyptian citizen to his country.”
- Mokhtar Noah: No one eroded human rights as the West did; when it used human rights as a means and as a weapon. And, of course, every country it threatened with human rights file is now destroyed, including Afghanistan of course.
Human rights have two theories
The first theory is a traditional theory, which is the right to movement, the right of expression, the right of whatsoever…
The another theory is more scientifically correct, which is the comprehensive human right, meaning you should not deprive a person of his right to clean water, while greet him in prison and say I will treat you with dignity.
Not only did the anchorwoman host a one opinion guest but it also made her program a platform to promote conspiracy theory and mock human rights by introducing a subjective and misleading topic in an attempt to prioritize part of human rights, which is economic rights, over political and civil rights.
4- “On My Responsibility” Program, Ahmed Mosa, episode of 16 August
The anchorman published a picture of Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and commented: “Here is a picture of Aboul Fotouh. He was in Afghanistan at that time and I was the first to publish this photo in Al-Ahram newspaper in 1992/1993.”
He was in Afghanistan and he sued me at that time arguing that I was (falsely) accusing him and alleged he was in a humanitarian/ relief mission, while in fact he was going for “Jihad” along with the Union of Arabs and the Union of Doctors and Lawyers”.
The anchorman tried to use his program to defame Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who does not have the right to respond or defend himself, especially since he is now politically detained. And hence the rule of fairness is missing here, in violation of the professional rules and standards.
Third: Printed newspapers:
1- Al-Wafd newspaper, 13 August, Page No. 3
“Expert: Ethiopia needs 50 years to fill the Renaissance Dam”
Nader Nour El-Din, Professor of Water Resources at Cairo University, said that “Ethiopia’s current rate of storage means that it needs 50 years in order to store 75 billion cubic meters to operate the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GRED)”.
He added, via a phone interview with “Hadrat Al-Mowaten ” program on the “Al-Hadath Al-Youm” TV, that Ethiopia failed to carry out the second filling process, and stored quantities, which he described as “marginal”, that is less than 2.5 billion cubic meters.
Ethiopia has officially announced that it has completely finished the process of the second filling of GRED, which contradicts what Nour El-Din stated. Adding to that, the news report was literally copied word for word from “Russia Today” website, without any modification or editing.
2- Al-Wafd, 14 August, Page No. 3
It published a piece of news with the headline “The Guardian British newspaper accuses the United States of destroying the Afghan army after the sudden withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.”
Comment: After research, we didn’t find what proves that that the Guardian published a report accusing the United States of destroying the Afghan army. We didn’t also find a single Arab news website that published what was included in “Al-Wafd” report.
3- Al-Wafd newspaper, same issue, Page 6, an article by Mohamed Ragheb, entitled “The Algeria Initiative, Will It Save Ethiopia?”
For the second week in a row, some Egyptian newspapers, news reports and articles talk about the “Algeria Initiative” to resolve the crisis of the GRED crisi, amid warmth and optimism about the initiative, while its details haven’t yet been known! Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said that there is an initiative, and pointed out that the Ethiopian side has already accepted it. However, and until now, no one knows its terms or purport. So, what is the professional basis on which these newspaper, news reports and analysis are based on regarding this unknown initiative?!
3- “Al-Masry Al-Youm”, issue of 15 August, Page No. 5, a news report reads:
“The President: The cost of subsidization for Egyptians is nearly EGP 3 trillion in ten years”…
The report went on saying: “The president said during the inauguration that the economic conditions of the state have changed and we will not accept their continuation. He added that the wages of state workers have been raised to a minimum of 2,400 pounds per person… He said that Economic conditions have changed, which requires an increase in prices, explaining that the volume of subsidies over 10 years will reach 3 trillion.”
Economic expert Dr. Gouda Abdel-Khaleq, published an article in “Al-Ahali” newspaper in its August 11 issue, titled “The Loaf between the People and the President”, in which he explained that subsidizing the loaf of bread does not represent the major crisis for the Egyptian government. He said: “Bread subsidy appropriations in the current budget -excluding warehouse flour- amount to 47.4 billion pounds, while total expenditures exceed 1.8 trillion, which means that bread subsidies represent no more than 2.6% of total expenditures. And it is clear from the previous figures that subsidizing the loaf is not the cause of the financial deficit Egypt suffers. Even if the subsidy is completely eliminated by raising the price of bread to the level of its (real) cost, this would mean saving only 47.4 billion pounds in public expenditures, a drop in an ocean.”
Fourth: An example of radio (coverage):
Aside from news websites, we introduce an example of Egyptian radio programs’ coverage. “On Sport” radio station reported at 8:45 AM on the 15th of August 2021 the following:
“The broadcaster speaks about the failure of the Olympic delegation and the necessity of holding those who are responsible for negligence accountable. Then he started talking, for almost 5 minutes, about grave financial violations and infractions committed by Engineer Hisham Hatab, head of the Olympic Committee. He mentioned, in numbers, financial irregularities amounting to millions of pounds, including some that date back to 4 years ago, which was previously monitored by the Central Auditing Agency!
The broadcaster made several accusations that defame and impugn the honor of Engineer Hisham Hatab without allowing him the right to respond, which is considered a clear crime of distortion and smear campaign against an absent person in an encroachment of the principle of fairness in journalism. The broadcaster could have simply tried to contact Eng. Hisham, and if he did not respond or refuse to participate, he could announce this attempt and say that the right to respond is guaranteed for the engineer, but this didn’t happen.
* 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.