- News websites: “El-Watan”… Violating the privacy of a child, “Youm7” & “Al-Dostor”…Governmental commercials, “Masrawy”… A journalistic disaster,
- Printed newspapers: False information, confusing media with advertisements
First: News websites
1- “El-Watan” website published on 19 August a news report that reads:
“Tag El-Din: Egypt is free from coronavirus mutations… and do not rush the fourth wave”
Despite the fact that the government has already detected its first case of the new Delta Plus COVID-19 variant in mid-July, as reported by Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed, the Presidential Health Advisor (Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din) is disseminating false information by announcing that Egypt is free from the virus mutations. It’s clear that he either doesn’t know the truth, and this is, in turn, a disaster because he is the presidential health advisor and is supposed to know before anyone else, or he knows and makes a false statement, and this is a greater disaster though.
The piece of news also lacks objectivity in presenting the situation of vaccines in Egypt; how speedy is the vaccination process for citizens who apply to receive it, and are there long waiting lists? If just the journalist made some effort, he would have obtained accurate information from the government itself, which announced that it has so far vaccinated about 4 million people, and using a simple comparison, the journalist can give the reader complete information about the time period that Egypt needs to vaccinate 100 million citizens. This is the real job of journalists whose duty is not limited to introducing or conveying the point of view of the officials.
2- “El-Watan” website published, on 19 August, a news report that reads:
“The first pictures of the 7th case (of a child) injected with the most expensive treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in “Ain Shams…
Dr. Nagia Ali Fahmy, Head of the Department of Muscular Dystrophy Diseases Department at Ain Shams Specialized Hospital, which is affiliated with Ain Shams University Hospitals, said that the center succeeded in injecting the seventh case with the most expensive treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) as part of the presidential initiative launched by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, regarding the treatment of patients. She explained that the seventh case is a 10-month-old girl named “Massa Mohamed Zakaria” from Minya Governorate and was injected within the presidential initiative for gene therapy for patients with spinal muscular atrophy.”
Without any reason or necessity, the website published the picture of the child and mentioned her name falling into a clear wrongdoing and infringement regarding the privacy of children especially the sick ones. Ethical rules of the journalistic profession emphasize banning the publishing of pictures of children especially if they suffer from diseases except after obtaining the permission of their parents and only in case that publishing their picture is in direct interest for the child. Nevertheless, the piece of news took a propaganda turn reporting about the presidential initiative, and this clearly appears in the sentence “the most expensive treatment for muscular dystrophy” highlighted by the journalist in the headline.
3- “Mobtada” website published, on 30 August, a long news report that reads:
“The Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan announced that the Directorate of Manpower in Dakahlia Governorate has appointed 855 young people, with higher and middle education degree and with no qualifications, in private and investment sector establishments, 5 of whom are people of determination. They have been appointed through “work enrolment certificates”, with those who are registered in the employment offices affiliated to the Directorate. Those young people amounted to 3320 persona, 20 of whom are disabled people.”
The report addresses the employment of 855 young men and then enumerates the ministry’s efforts in following up its duties with regard to work and workers, making it a piece of news that presents only one party in the work system, as it ignores the party for citizens. Hence, the report doesn’t go in line with objectivity and fairness. The journalist could have tried to tackle how much these 855 people represent compared to the unemployed people from university degree holders and others in order to explain to the reader the value of this effort, which is the fundamental role of journalism.
4- “Al-Dostor” website published on 20 August a report that reads:
“In detail… “Health Care” reveals its achievements in developing services for beneficiaries
Today, the General Authority for Health Care issued its periodic newsletter (Re’ayah News), which covers the Authority’s achievements, events and activities, both at the local and international levels, as well as the activities of its departments, branches and various health facilities in the governorates.”
The journalist contented himself with conveying the General Authority for Health Care’s newsletter and putting a headline confirming that what the authority has done constitutes an achievement, which violates the journalistic impartiality. The report only tackles the authority’s bulletin about its achievement and efforts and doesn’t give any objective or neutral evaluation of these efforts. It also doesn’t present any point of views of citizens who receive this health care, and therefore the piece of news is devoid of journalistic balance and objectivity and became closer to propaganda report than discussing the performance of the authority.
5- “Masrawy” website published on 22 August a piece of news that reads:
The Railways Authority: 190 MB-affiliated employees dismissed, redeployed from operating positions and influential sites”
Dr. Muhammad Hussein, Vice President of the Railway Authority for Human Resources Affairs, said that the authority has launched a cleansing campaign to purify the Railways from what he described as “terrorist and fanatic elements.”
Hussein added to “Masrawy”, that 190 employees belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood group have been redeployed from holding operating positions and a number of influential sites in the Railway Authority, stressing that they were transferred to other jobs and departments far from operation.
The deputy head of the Railway Authority explained that there are directives from Lieutenant-General Kamel Al-Wazir, the Minister of Transport, to quickly enumerate the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated employees and transfer them to other jobs.
This piece of news is a journalistic disaster. The journalist reports about a procedure that has been taken by the Railways Authority against 190 employees without any attempt from him to research and investigate how accurate and fair this decision is and how it may affect the lives of many Egyptian citizens. The piece sufficed with the remarks of the deputy head of the Railway Authority who accused these citizens of being terrorist elements, even though they were transferred to other departments and positions in the authority. This makes the news report itself illogical, as the reader will wonder how a terrorist person can remain at his work anywhere!
The report is devoid of fairness and objectivity. It presented a single point of view without any balance or research on the defense of these citizens being dismissed and the damage they will incur as a result of this redeployment. Also neither the official nor the journalist mentioned any infractions or crimes that are committed by these railway workers to deserve such punitive action.
7- “Sada El-Balad” website published on 22 August a press report that said:
“The first comment from the Parliament on renting streets for parking at a monthly fee”
Amr Darwish, Secretary of the Local Administration Committee in the parliament, said that the new parking attendant (Sayes) law does not force people to pay money to park their cars, but it was primarily introduced to legalize and regulate the profession of “parking attendants” and set special conditions for those who want to practice this profession by licensing it.
“Darwish” said, in exclusive remarks to “Sada Al-Balad”, that the issue of renting streets on a monthly basis to obtain a designated place for parking cars- for those who paid the specified amount of money for the municipal bodies monthly – is not an obligatory matter. He added that the committee, when the next parliamentary session begins, will request form the government to discuss this issue to answer all the questions that arise in the minds of citizens.
The report lacks accuracy and clarity in its wordings in the first place, making readers confused about the law that regulates parking in the streets. They wonder whether the law was issued to legalize the profession of parking attendant (Sayes) as the deputy of Parliament stated, or to allow car owners to rent places for car parking in the streets directly from the neighborhood administrations without dealing with the parking attendant!
The strange thing in the report is that it shows that the Parliament will discuss the government about the law, while the journalist did not come up with any opinion that analyzes or removes the ambiguity regarding this law. Also, how will Parliament itself discuss the law after, and not before, it is adopted or approved?!
Second: Printed newspapers:
* “Al-Akhbar” newspaper, issue of 17 August 2021, Page 6
It published a long press interview with Dr. Lubna Saeed, winner of the State Incentive Award in 2019. She talked about the release of 117 research papers that she made, adding that she is working on materials that allow computers to run using body heat. She also pointed out that she has succeeded in encrypting voice… and managed to hide information in an image.
The interview didn’t mention any scientific journal in which these 117 research papers were published, nor did it mention any details about the rest of the research and inventions that haven’t been tested or published in any scientific forum around the world. We are not saying that all of what Dr. Lubna mentioned is wrong, but the editor’s failure to rely on whatever proves the correctness of her words is indeed a major professional error.
* “Al-Akhbar” newspaper, the same issue, Page 7
Hamdy Rezk wrote an article entitled “10 rumors a day” in which he talked about the government being exhausted with a range of daily rumors. The article concluded: “An imminent danger, and according to President Sisi, the real danger that our country and the region are currently facing is one danger that is represented in: destroying the countries from within using pressure, rumors, terrorist acts, loss of safety and a sense of frustration. He gave a significant example that Egypt was exposed to 21,000 rumors within 3 months, these rumors aim at spreading confusion and frustration…The number says that Egypt witnesses 7 thousand rumors per month, 223 rumors per day, and 10 rumors every hour. Is there a country that is being targeted like ours? I doubt it”.
Hamdi Rizk did not explain in his article on what information or source he or President Sisi based their statements to remunerate the 21,000 rumors and accordingly concluded that every hour 10 rumors are uttered. The journalist also did not give a single definition or hint of the meaning or the purpose of the rumor! In other words, on what basis did Rizk decide whether a certain piece of information or news is a rumor or not?
* “Al-Ahram” newspaper, issue released on August 20, Page 4
“Shawky: Full attendance of students and teachers is required in the next school year…
Dr. Tarek Shawky, Minister of Education and Technical Education, announced that the new school year will start normally on the 9th of next October with full in-person attendance of students and with absences of students, teachers and administrators recorded, provided that digital and “online” resources are a complement the educational process at school..
We cannot predict the future in the presence of the coronavirus pandemic, and it is also not possible to take fateful decisions such as the regular attendance of students and teachers in the new school year, especially after the fourth coronanavirus wave had begun in Egypt in light of the emergence of the new Delta COVID-19 variant and mutations. And as confirmed by some doctors, the high rate of coronavirus infection indicates that Egypt entered the fourth wave of the delta mutation.
* Al-Wafd newspaper, issue of 18 August, Page 3
Minister of Finance: Poverty rates reduced by 5.2%.. Dr. Mohamed Maait, Minister of Finance, said that World Bank estimates indicate that the direct support or cash transfer programs such as “Takafoul W Karama initiative and the Social Security pension” contributed to reducing poverty rates by 5.2% during the fiscal year 2019/2020″.
According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics in Egypt, poverty rates in the country increased by the end of the fiscal year 2017/2018 to 32%, compared to 27.8% for the year 2015/2016. And after the aforementioned decrease of 5.2%, the poverty rates became 28.5%, as reported by Dr. Hala Al-Saeed, Minister of Planning and Economic Development. This means that since 2015/2016, poverty rates have been on the rise even after the recently announced decline.
* Al- Masry Al-Youm newspaper, Issue of 20 August, Page No. 10
It published an article for Ibrahim Nageh, entitled “Taliban, Have You Learned the Lesson”? The strange thing here is that the same article was literally published in “Al-Sharq” newspaper, specifically in its issue released on August 21, but with a different headline “Between the First and Second Taliban”!
Comment: This article was published in two successive issues of two different newspapers! How did the article pass through the review section in Al-Shorouk institution? In addition to that, the publication must be exclusive, meaning that it should be published for the first time whether on printed newspaper or news websites.
* Confusing media with advertisements/commercials!
It means to publish or release an advertisement without referring to it as an ad but rather to appear as a form of a news report.
Besides it violates the rules and code of conduct of the journalistic profession, it contradicts Article 31 of Law No. 96 of 1996 on regulating the press in Egypt, which states: “……there must be a complete and clear separation between editorial and advertising materials.” However, some newspapers in Egypt violate this legal provision when they publish an ad as if it is a news report or press interview.
The following are examples of advertising materials that were published as if they are new reports:
– Delta University for Science and Technology grants high school students 3 distinguished colleges successful applicants, “El- Wafd” newspaper, Issue of August 17, Page 4
– Sunrise Resorts Group announces the opening of its newest hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, “El-Wafd” newspaper, August 17, Page 5
– The General Company for Ceramic and Porcelain Products (SHEENI) begins the full activation of the ERP system for digital transformation, “Al Shorouk” newspaper, August 18, Page No. 5
– “Beltone” raises the fair value of “Exports” to 16.50 pounds per share, “Al-Akhbar” newspaper, August 18, page No. 11
– “El Shorouk” Academy applies quality standards, “Al-Ahram” newspaper, August 18 page No. 7.
-” Acadia Developments” appoints a new Director of Marketing, “Al-Wafd” August 19, pg. 9.
-“Royal Developments” has started construction in 10 projects in New Cairo, the same issue and page