First: Media websites
“El-Watan”…confusion in coronavirus statistics, “Sada El-Bald”…propaganda reports, Mada Masr …offering a balanced and exclusive story
1- “El-Watan” news website published a news story on 3 September:
The President’s Adviser: 8 million receive coronavirus vaccines (video)
Taj El-Din added, during his interview with the “8 AM” TV show, screened on “DMC”: “8 million have obtained coronavirus vaccines so far. The number of citizens receiving vaccines is increasing, and there is a presidential directive to grant vaccines to all faculty members and whoever deals with students and university education with all its categories. The governmental institutions have also begun to vaccinate employees to limit the spread of the disease.”
The journalist cited the statements of Dr. Awad Taj al-Din, the advisor to the president on health affairs, without any scrutiny or follow-up. He didn’t contact other sources to confirm or refute the official’s remarks, which made the story lose balance and accuracy.
If the journalist made a simple effort, he would have found that the Al-Masry Al-Youm website published, on August 2, a piece of news quoting the Ministry of Health as saying that 4 million Egyptian citizens had received the vaccine, which contradicts the figure mentioned by Dr. Taj al-Din who asserted that 8 million have been vaccinated, noting that only one month is the time difference between the two stories. Therefore, El-Watan’s report is devoid of the role of journalism in verifying information and providing the reader with all available data on the story.
2- “Sada El-Balad” published on 3 September a promotional report that says:
“Minister of Culture: We seek to create an enlightening path to develop community awareness within “Hayah Karima”… and the opening of the Opera House in the Administrative Capital represents a continuation of this path.”
Dr. Enas Abdel Dayem, Minister of Culture, stressed that culture and arts during the era of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi are witnessing a fruitful local, regional and international movement, as the role of soft power appears as a single global language spoken by all the peoples of the earth and a bridge of communication between countries. It shows the effective impact of the cultural diplomacy’s role in civilizations dialogue and interchange in cultures; for it is an important means of promoting Egyptian arts and civilization, allowing the sharing of forms of creative expression and cultural values between countries and peoples.”
The report relied solely on the Minister of Culture’s remarks, which came as a propaganda advertisement about the efforts made for cultural renaissance. The minister talked about the opening of a new opera house in the Administrative Capital, and this needed a comment from intellectuals about cultural priorities compared to the need for this house. The report, hence, is devoid of balance and objectivity and appears as a propaganda that presents a single point of view.
The report’s link
3- “Al-Dostor” website published on 6 August a news story that reads:
The Arab Labor Conference (ALC) continued the work of its 47th session, in its plenary session, today, Monday, for the second day in a row. Held under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and headed by Mohamed Saafan, Minister of Manpower, the ALC is participated by 21 Arab countries represented by 16 Arab labour ministers and four presidents, in addition to 415 delegates from employers’ organizations, labor, and professional unions, representatives of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, the Federation of Arab Chambers of Commerce and the International Labor Organization, and a number of ambassadors and eminent personalities.
Gebali Al-Maraghi, President of the General Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions, gave a speech commenting on the report issued by the Director-General of the Arab Labor Organization, Fayez Al-Mutairi, during the current session, entitled “Entrepreneurship and Small Enterprises – The Path to Sustainable Development and Empowerment”. He thanked President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for sponsoring the conference and directing a speech, during which he saluted the three production parties (union organizations, business owners and governments).
The report covers the activities of the Arab Labor Conference on sustainable development and empowerment, but as you read, you will find nothing but praise and commendation for the role of the conference’s officials and sponsors .The report is devoid of any useful information about the conditions of workers and labor in the Arab world and what problems they face and ways to solve them, especially in light of the coronairus pandemic, making it, as a result, propaganda report promoting the conference and its organizers.
4- “Masrawy” news website published on 6 August a news story that says:
“An important step for the benefit of citizens… Tourism Committee at the parliament commends the exemption of tourist vehicles from customs”
MP Nora Ali, Head of the Tourism and Aviation Committee in the House of Representatives, said that exempting cars imported for tourism purposes from customs tax, with the exception of “limousines” that are exempted up to 400,000 Egyptian pounds, is an excellent step for the benefit of citizens.
The journalist contented himself with conveying the MP’s commendation of the executive regulations of the new customs law, making the report lack objectivity as it conveys only one point of view that only praises and applauds. The report also depends on the parliamentarian’s remarks without any clarification of what the executive regulations of the customs law were and how it could be an excellent step for the benefit of citizens, as she asserted. The journalist could have reached for a comment from any expert to either support or refute what the parliament’s representative says, but he did not do that, and made his report free of neutrality and balance.
5- Masa Masr published on 6 August a report that says:
“EIPR calls for the foreign debt to be subject to the oversight of Parliament… and a former MP: The Parliament does not monitor loans that are not guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) called for the necessity of placing Egypt’s external debt as a whole under the supervision of the Parliament, so that it is prohibited to sign agreements with external loans without its approval, “whatever the borrower is, provided that a payment plan and a plan for the use of funds are presented to it.”
The website offered an exclusive story on the controversy surrounding the report of “External Debt 2020: Coronavirus lifts debt”, and maybe you will not find such a report on any other website. The report is balanced and accurate in presenting the EIPR’s viewpoint demanding that the parliament oversees external debts. The journalist also presented a former parliamentarian’s point of view in which he refutes the parliament’s lack of monitoring of some of these loans. The report, however, could have been completely comprehensive if it introduced the Ministry of Finance’s standpoint on the matter.
Second: Talk shows
1- “On My Responsibility” Program, anchorman Ahmed Mosa, episode of 13 August 2021
Mosa said: “Regarding what is happening today in Afghanistan, the region, the world, and the European countries are now refraining from hosting Afghan refugees. Yes, they said so: “we have nothing to do with Afghanistan, what is Afghanistan?” Yes, it has been 20 years, but they are now saying “we don’t have the ability to host any of you”, this is how Europe speaks… Europe won’t host a single Afghani citizen. They’ve settled on this today in the conference. They literally ignored them (Afghan refugees). Those are the EU interior ministers and their statements are clear enough: we will not host any one”.
ANHRI’s comment: Moussa’s comment -with which he began his program – about the European Union countries’ stance regarding the potential Afghan refugees lacked accuracy and sincerity. At a time when European countries have not yet taken a unified position regarding the issue and their views still differ, Ahmed Mosa terminates the argument and claims that Europe will not receive “not a single refugee,” as he put it. Disagreement between the EU countries started to loom, as we can find that Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, calls for the reception of refugees in the union’s countries, demanding that between 40,000 and 50,000 places be provided for the resettlement of Afghan refugees, while criticizing Austria and Slovenia’s refusal to receive them. Moreover, the strategy of European Union officials stipulated in one of its three dimensions to offer asylum to the most vulnerable groups.
2- “Akher Al-Nahar”, Tamer Amin, episode of 31 August
Presenter Tamer Amin and his program’s producer team devoted an entire segment of the program to advertising and promoting one of the hotel real estate investment companies; as he hosted the company’s marketing and sales manager, who, in turn, outlined the hotel units his country is offering, listed its advantages, benefits and unit prices, in addition to the buyers’ investment and the ensuing returns after putting their savings in the units established by the company.
Tamer Amin violated the media code of honor, which obliges him to explicitly differentiate between news/press materials and advertising materials. He did not also abide by the code of professional conduct for media performance, which prohibits mixing media and advertising material in all its forms with any press/news or informative content in a way that is completely clear to the public.
3- “Kelma Akhira” Program, anchorman Lamis El-Hadidi, episode of 4 September 2021
Lamis El-Hadidi says: Economically, and this is another point, statistics and figures say that Egypt’s economy began to improve, develop and get better after the coronavirus crisis.
In numbers, Minister of Planning, Dr. Hala Al-Saeed announced the increase in the growth rate during the quarter ending last June, making a quantum leap. We are talking about a growth at a rate of 7.7 (percent) and this is indeed a leap. Let’s see what the growth rate was in the previous quarter: it was -1.7. That’s a great improvement.
Lamis made his proclaimed cry about the recovery of the economy in light of the coronavirus crisis and quoted the Minister of Planning as saying that the growth rates have increased for the second quarter of this year. It followed the minister’s remarks by commenting and praising this economic achievement based on consumption in the fields of real estate and domestic tourism. And despite the minister’s shy reticence regarding this point, the anchorwoman moved on and turned to another topic without presenting any specialized analysis of the components of this alleged growth and without introducing another viewpoint that may see that this growth lacks achievement of economic added value. As a result, balance and objectivity were absent in the episode in accordance with the media honor charter which stipulates in Clause No. (2) the necessity of complying with “Objectivity in dealing (with news topics), balance in presenting viewpoints, and not giving priority to personal interest over professional and national considerations.”
4- “Akher Al-Nahar” TV program, Mohamed El-Baz, episode of Friday, 3 September 2021
Mohamed El-Baz said: I want to talk about the issue of Nazlat Al-Samman. Some people argue that the Egyptian media deliberately turns a blind eye to the issue.
He went on: “The Egyptian media is not far away, but the idea is that there is a difference between targeted media, the London-based Al-Arabi TV channel and the Muslim Brotherhood’s pages are an example, and any other media. These (MB- affiliated) media outlets aim to agitate Nazlat Al-Samman’s people by pushing them to confront the state by taking to the street and organizing demonstrations.
He then elaborated on the topic and gave an explanation of the issue from his personal point of view, reminding his viewers of the famous Battle of Camel took place during the January Revolution, before he conducted a telephone interview with the head of the October Gardens Authority, who in turn exerted no effort to defend the government’s stance in the issue.
El-Baz contravened the same aforementioned clause that Lamis El-Hadidi had violated. He solely presented his viewpoint that is compatible with the government’s one and supported it by his comment and the remarks of the guest interviewed via phone. He didn’t refer to the parties concerned or any relevant actors from the Nazlet Al-Samman residents; as he had to host one of the families claiming to be affected by the decision and present the other point of view, after contacting the head of the Gardens City Authority.
5- “Al-Hekayah”, Amr Adib, Episode of Saturday, 4 September 2021
During this episode, Adib hosted Dr. Sami Saad, the General Chairman of Physiotherapy, to comment on the arrest of a person who is practicing physical therapy, against the background of a report submitted by a female artist accusing him of causing her cartilage injury. The chairman said: “we have examined his papers, Identification cards, and the certificates upon which he alleges that he is practicing physiotherapy. He is also alleging that he holds certificates from foreign countries. The Prosecution has consequently renewed his detention for 15 days”. He also called him a swindler and charlatan.
This person was arrested in connection with a case that is still under investigation. He hasn’t yet been convicted of the aforementioned accusations. So the program’s presenter had to stop his guest from condemning the man (without a trial), and from insulting and defaming him, but Adib didn’t do so. Rather, he let the Chairman incriminate a defendant who hasn’t proven guilty.
6- “Al-Hekayah”, Amr Adib, Episode of Sunday, 5 September 2021
Introducing his episode, Adib said, commenting on a traffic accident on the Suez Road: “Over the years of my life working on television, I cannot understand the reason for the high death toll resulting from traffic accidents in Egypt, although we have got paved, large and wide roads… We need people to tell us what the story is and what the matter is.”
Then he went on guessing the causes of the accident and the circumstances surrounding it and provided a piece of information on the Suez Road saying: “Until recently, this Suez Road was only one lane.”
Although Amr Adib started his episode wondering about the accident and expressing his lack of understanding of the reasons behind the increase of road fatalities, while asserting there is need for a specialist or expert to explain these reasons in a scientific manner, he did not contact any expert and was satisfied with his sole personal comment and his guessing of the causes of the accident, which he attributed all to defects in vehicles or mistakes made by the driver without giving any possibility that those recently established roads lack the (necessary) safety factors or modern technology methods.
As for the piece of information that he provided regarding the state of Suez Road, it is completely incorrect. This road has not been, for more than twenty years, and even before the recent modernization, a single lane, but rather more than a separate lane.
7- “Al-Hayah Al- Youm” TV program, anchorwoman Lobna Aasal, episode of Sunday, 5 September 2021
Anchorwoman Lobna Aasal hosted MP Tariq Radwan, Head of the Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, in a telephone interview, and they had the following dialogue:
Lobna: Of course you are aware of the systematic onslaught by some foreign media outlets and some malicious voices that speak about human rights, how do you see this issue?
Guest: I consider using the ‘human rights’ file a seasonal weapon, meaning that they brandish this file over the priority of another file to put pressure on Egypt by using human rights.
And when he mentioned the word “prisons”, the anchorwoman stopped him to elaborate on this file, so he added: Prisons are a smart weapon to use, because you do not see what is happening.
Lobna: But prisons are opening their doors and the Ministry of Interior every now and then allows visits for Egyptian and foreign human rights delegations.
Guest: But as for the ordinary citizen, he does not have any knowledge (of what is happening in prisons), and some people carefully listen to such mouthpieces until their minds are penetrated; because ordinary people are not aware of what is offered to prisoners, who, after all, should be serving punishment.
Lobna: It is a prison at the end, not a five-star hotel, and health care and humane treatment must be available.
Guest: I call on these (human rights) organizations, if they are well-intentioned, to conduct a comparative study between prison conditions in 2021, 2015, 2010 and 2005, and we can review and see the level of prisons comparing to their conditions in the past.
Lobna: Limiting the issue to prisons, human and social rights, needs and initiatives, they don’t put into consideration all of these things.
Guest: And they won’t; because this is not the thing that …
Lobna: You mean that sells?
Guest: There are people who gain their livelihood from fabricating or writing something that is contrary to the reality of the situation, and as a result, a counter public opinion is formed against Egypt in several files.
Lobna’s performance is similar to that of AlJawqat musical band that chants behind the singer and echoes his words, but this song is a much-maligned one whose melody and lyrics are very poor. Both the guest and his host turn a blind eye to the testimonies of many political prisoners and their families about what the treatment they (detainees and their families) received inside prisons, and these testimonies are easy to access by referring to human rights organizations and reports/complaints about prison violations which they submitted to the Public Prosecutor.
8- “On My Responsibility” TV program, Ahmed Mosa, Episode of Monday, 6 September 2021
Ahmed Mosa said: I always say that BBC spreads lies and is an unreliable media outlet. We’ve introduced many false and fabricated reports which used to, and still, publish about Egypt. This is represented in the ruins that took place in the country in 2011; the BBC adopted this agenda, in Egypt, in Tunisia, and in Syria where it fabricated a report about the incidents there. It’s not me who said this, but they confessed to doing so in 2018, when they alleged that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had launched chemical attacks against civilian citizens.
Thereafter, they cited a photo from Reuters of a Russian statement accusing the UK of helping to fabricate a chemical attack in Syria dating back to 2018.
Mosa went on: BBC then came today to concede the crime…They confessed to committing the crime. They were caught red-handed. They admitted that what happened were catastrophic mistakes… It is the BBC that said so.
Then he cited another report on the website of the General Authority for Radio and Television of Syria to prove his accusation.
Mosa began his episode by violating the first regulation (clause) of the Code of Professional Conduct for Media Performance, which stipulates for “respect for, and adherence to, the Egyptian constitution, especially to what is stated in its preamble regarding the “people’s struggle and will in the January 25 and June 30 revolutions as the path they chose for the future”. Describing the Egyptian people’s struggle in 2011 as “devastation” or “ruins” contradicts the provision of the Constitution.
Mosa then claimed, more than once, that BBC admitted that it had fabricated the aforementioned incident, but he did not attribute this confession to the confessor, rather, he resorted to sources at odds with the BBC. He had to present the BBC’s confession itself, if it really does exist. But by doing this, he breaches the media honor charter in clauses no. (1), (2) by not adhering to accuracy, honesty and truthfulness and attribution of news and information to their original sources. He also didn’t commit to objectivity in handling the topic or balance in presenting views.
Third: Printed newspapers
1- Al-Wafd newspaper, Thursday, September 2, page No. 4
An interview with Dr. Mahmoud Alam El Din, Professor of Mass Communication at Cairo University
Dr. Mahmoud Alam El Din says: “…When Britain in 2011 faced chaos, as people took to the streets and some of the homeless carried out acts of sabotage and vandalism, it didn’t stand behind media freedom nor human rights to preserve the state…”
Aside from applauding the Egyptian media, which is awash with lack of professionalism, and despite his remarks about the so-called fourth generation wars, he- despite being a journalism university professor- propagated the lie that the United Kingdom sacrificed human rights and media freedom when it faced some protests, in disregard of the successive denials by British institutions regarding the matter.
2- Al-Wafd newspaper, Sunday 5 September, the last page
An article by writer Hamdi Rizk about the religion/faith category in ID
The writer is trying to find a justification for attacking human rights institutions, claiming that they remain silent with regard to the non-removal of religious identity from the national identity cards!!
Although he had previously served as Editor- in-Chief of several newspapers and magazines, the writer didn’t bother himself to verify his information or make a simple search on the Internet to get to know the human rights organizations’ stance in this issue as well as their relentless demands to omit the mention of religion on ID cards.
By simply googling it, you will find that the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) posted a video on this matter a few months ago, gaining more than one 100,000 views.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) also released a report on this issue
3- Al-Akhbar newspaper, September 5, page 5
A half-page article entitled: “The first real estate event to take over the directives of the President”
You won’t know if the story is an investigative report, or a piece of news, or an interview!! You must read it.
But after you finish reading it, you will find out that it is an ad! The newspaper didn’t explain that it was an ad, continuing the Egyptian media’s complete confusion between journalism and advertisement, in a blow to the press codes of honor.