- “Cairo24” website…violating the right of child, “El-Watan”… a yellow report “News Website”
- Insult and defamation in “On My Responsibility” and false information in “Asl El-Hekaya” TV program “Talk shows”
- Whitewashing a defendant convicted over a final ruling
First: News Website
1- “Cairo24” publishes, on September 22, a piece of news that reads:
“Little girl Layal dies after receiving a gene therapy jab that costs EGP 35 million..
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, child Layal Ahmed Azab died after a journey of spinal muscular atrophy and receiving the most expensive gene therapy treatment in the world costing EGP 35 million following a wide-ranging fundraising campaign”
The headline chosen to the news story fully violates moral rules. The journalist appears as if he regrets the amount spent on the girl’s treatment. He also publishes a picture of the deceased girl, which constitutes another moral and human violation; as the profession of journalism prohibits publishing photos of children except in the narrowest of circumstances and for the benefit of the child. But in this case, the journalist intended only to create excitation comparing the amount of money spent on the child’s treatment to her life, which contradicts the ethics of the journalistic work.
2- Masrawy news website publishes, on 23 September, a report that says:
The Journalists Syndicate’s council, during its meeting headed by Diaa Rashwan, rejected the request to accredit 10 newspapers for the non-application of the conditions thereto. The newspapers are: “Al-Bayan, Al-Kalima, Masr Al-Mostaqbal (Egypt the Future), Al-Hadath Al-Iqtisady, Al-Bosla, Al-Borsgia, The Middle East, Al-Massar, Ahl Masr and Baldna Al-Yom”.
The journalist publishes a news piece about the Journalists Syndicate refusing to grant press accreditation to 10 newspapers without mentioning the reasons for the refusal. So the piece is devoid of one of the pillars of journalistic work as it fails to answer the most important question regarding the issue “Why the Journalists Syndicate refused to give press accreditation to these newspapers?”.. There is no answer!
3- “El-Watan” website publishes on 24 September a news report that says:
Days after Ali and Nada’s engagement party, they soon had a consensual sexual relationship, which was repeated inside the girl’s house in Helwan until she got pregnant. So she rushed to her fiancé asking him to expedite the completion of their marriage so that she could get out of this predicament. But the young man was evading and dodging her calls making flimsy justifications until the girl’s pregnancy reached the third month, so she had no choice but to inform her family. She claimed that she had been raped while she was drugged by her fiancé.
* This report falls under the yellow journalism which is looking for excitation and provocation by publishing sexual details that attract a certain group of readers. These yellow reports expose, distort and violate individuals’ privacy and personal inviolability without any regard for professional ethics. The journalist only revealed the first name of the girl and the young man thinking that by this he would hide their identity. But this is a bigger mistake, as it may harm a larger sector of people; those whose names are similar to those mentioned in this yellow report, which contravenes the rules of privacy and judicial investigations not to mention the distortion of people. Furthermore, these reports can harm the press institution itself; as the aggrieved party can sue the journalist and the newspaper he works for, or fine them with large financial compensation by virtue of law.
4- “Mobtada” website publishes, on 24 September, a news report that says:
Dr. Khaled Qassem, the official spokesman for the Ministry of Local Development, confirmed that the Ministry is organizing a training course to prepare human rights specialists to be present in the human rights units that have been established in the governorates.
He added: “Meetings have been organized between colleagues in the central and subsidiary units on one hand and human rights specialists on the other hand. There are 114 headquarters for these units in a way that leads up to its implementation on the ground. There have been human cadres dealing with the national strategy for human rights announced by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.”
This is a mere governmental news piece where the journalist quoted an official at the Ministry of Local Development, without review or verification of the importance of his statements. Although the piece addresses a new mechanism for solving human rights problems through trained cadres, it is devoid of neither any meaningful information about human rights issues nor any details about the training course that is supposed to produce specialists in human rights, making the news piece become mere information about the implementation of higher directives only.
5- “Youm7” website publishes, on 26 September, a news story that reads:
Economists: Imposing taxes on “YouTubers and Bloggers” is applied in many countries of the world as an electronic commerce.. Every profitable business activity is required to pay income taxes.. And the decisions support state revenues and society.
“A number of economists have agreed that imposing taxes on e-commerce, including YouTubers and bloggers, comes in the context of benefiting from the experiences of countries that preceded us in this issue for years, in addition to benefiting the economy directly and at the same time preserving those people by strengthening society’s confidence in them, through the official permits presented to the community.
* The journalist who wrote the report quoted a number of economists who unanimously agreed on one opinion, which is that imposing taxes on YouTubers and bloggers is a great and beneficial thing for everyone. Also it is unusual in journalism, which is supposedly tasked with coming up with diversified views, to present only one opinion. And even if economic experts line up overwhelmingly on one side of the issue, why are the persons concerned (Yotubers) not included in the report to express their opinion in the matter? The report thus lacks balance and fairness, which is among the most important rules and elements of professional journalism, and this is not available in this biased report.
This lack of balance and fairness becomes very evident when reading Mada Masr’s report in the following lines…
6- “Mada Masr” website publishes, on 26 September, publishes a report that reads:
Former head of Tax Authority: Calling on bloggers and YouTubers to pay the “value-added tax” entails a legal error…
The Egyptian Tax Authority, yesterday, called on content creators on all social media platforms to open a tax file to register the relevant income tax (in case it exceeds 15 thousand pounds a year) and to register the competent value-added when their revenues reach LE 500,000 a year, according to a statement by the authority. The statement didn’t disclose further details.
For his part, Ashraf El-Araby, former Deputy Minister of Finance for Taxes, told “Mada Masr” that there is an error in the Tax Authority’s statement demanding content creators to collect and supply the value-added tax. He pointed out that this tax is only paid by consumers for the service or commodity they benefit from, while the role of the business owner is limited to assigning the collection of this tax and remitting it to the Authority, as Al-Arabi stated.
This report, which introduced the government’s statement and cited a tax expert along with former tax officials, clearly contradicts the abovementioned “Youm7” report that reflects the extent to which the one-opinion tendency prevails in almost all press reports that cover government activities. “Mada Masr” website graciously maintains in its report a balance of views so that the reader can stand on the correct information by balancing the different opinions and viewpoints. It also adheres to the rule of fairness in highlighting the possibility that imposing such taxes might entail a mistake or misconception.
Second: Talk shows
1- “Pen and Paper”, Nashat El-Dihi, episode of Tuesday, 21 September
Nashat said: Some members of that faction are talking about Field Marshal Tantawi and that he had implicated in the bloodshed and the incidents that took place in Egypt, whether the “Mohamed Mahmoud incidents”, “the cabinet incidents”, the “Maspero incidents” or “Port Said Stadium”. President Sisi put it clear today and made a historic acknowledgment by asserting that Field Marshal Tantawi is innocent, saying “This man is innocent of any blood spilled”.
Asking questions is one of the basic rules of the profession of media workers so as to help reveal the truth to viewers, especially when it comes to an issue of public interest. But El-Dihi didn’t commit to such a basic rule. He had to ask two questions: “So, who is the one responsible (for such bloody incidents)?” and “What did the investigations result in with regard to such massacres?”. Nevertheless, instead of playing his role as a media professional, El-Dihi started showing his belief in the president’s words and praising him as usual.
2-“On My Responsibility” TV program, Ahmed Mosa, episode of Tuesday 21 September 2021
Ahmed Mosa said: All the countries that had witnessed the “January incidents”, the spring, the autumn (making a mockery of the Arab Spring incidents), and all such black incidents, saw civil wars, except Egypt, thank God. And this is because the Armed Forces had endured all the insults and verbal assaults, and didn’t confront a person in the street at the time. On the contrary, it absorbed the anger because it was aware of the plot (conspiracy) orchestrated against the country.
Mosa describes the January Revolution as black incidents, in violation of the Code of Professional Conduct for Media Performance that obliges him to respect the Constitution, especially what was stated in its preamble regarding the people’s struggle and will in the January 25 and June 30 revolutions. Also, he wasn’t accurate when he said that civil wars erupted in all the countries that revolted against their tyrannical regimes except in Egypt. This did not happen. He wasn’t also accurate when he said that the Armed Forces tolerated insults and absorbed anger, as the Military Council’s rule witnessed a massive expansion in military trials for civilians.
3- “Al-Hekayah” TV program, Amr Adib, episode of Friday 24 September
Adib said: Nearly 10-15 people know exactly what happened in Egypt from the period of 2011 until now. And I am not interested in knowing what happened from media level… Was what Field Marshal Tantawi knew recorded? I don’t know. We will document that from the other people who know most of the things that happened, how and when. This is the history of the country… I don’t say that we’ll record and broadcast it. I say that this will be to future generations. I mean the period of the January 25 revolution and Mubarak’s resignation. What happened in Tahrir Square and how did the Muslim Brotherhood come to power?
Adib didn’t commit to accuracy when he said that only a group of 11 to 15 people are aware of what had happened in Tahrir Square during the 18 days leading up to Mubarak’s resignation. He ignored the testimonies of thousands of eyewitnesses who were present in such incidents together with the testimonies of the injured who lost their eyes. If he wanted to know the official narrative (regarding the January Revolution), it is full of eyesight and hearing, as it has always been uttered by the tongues of the strategists and experts hosted by him and by his colleagues during the years in which the incidents took place. But, as for what happened inside the closed rooms, how can a media person announce to his viewers that he does not want to know what happened from a media point of view, how can he denounce the current generation who witnessed the incident narrating it? Does that not contradict the principle of transparency that he must adhere to?
4- “Akher Al-Nahar” program, Mohamed Al-Baz, episode of Saturday 25 September 2021
Al-Baz said: There are expansions in construction in Al-Sahel Al-Shamali (The North Coast), so we are following up the work of the Ministry of Electricity in order to provide electrical supplies to the North Coast region now in the future.
Al-Baz gave this example while he is in the process of justifying the economic burdens that citizens have borne in recent years as a result of increased taxes, lifting subsidies and other economic decisions that have intensified the suffering of the middle and poor classes. What is surprising here is that Al-Baz considers the North Coast new luxury projects to be among the projects that benefit the ordinary citizen, who cannot pass through one of their gates. He considers these projects as part of the main projects that citizens must bear the cost of their construction. So he appeared that he didn’t adhere to arranging and formulating the priorities of the topic being broadcasted in a way that reflects the real priorities of the community.
In front of its gates is one of the main projects that he must bear the cost of building, and thus Al-Baz did not commit to arranging and formulating the priorities of the published and presented material in a way that reflects the real priorities of the community.
5- “Pen and Paper” TV program, Nashat El-Dihi, episode of Saturday 25 September
Al-Dihi hosted the Director of the Examination Department at the Center for Major Financiers of the Tax Authority. Asking him about the size of e-commerce in Egypt, the official answered “We in Egypt are talking about an official economy that can reach 40% of the size of the existing economy. Of course, you can imagine with me if this percentage is included, we will not borrow anything or have debts, and we will not need anything from anyone.
Al-Dihi didn’t ask his guest about such ambiguous answers. He didn’t clarify which official economy he is talking about, the traditional or the electronic one? He didn’t also explain what he meant by the “existing economy”! And how much is it worth so that we can calculate the value of the percentage he declared! In addition to his claim that the taxes to be collected from e-commerce will obviate the need to indebtedness, which has risen during the third quarter of this year only to $ 5 billion, media professional Nashat Al-Daihi didn’t investigate the accuracy of figures and information presented to his viewers.
6- “Al-Hikayah” TV program, Amr Adib, episode of Saturday 25 September 2021
Amr said: Citizens always complain that they don’t enjoy their fair right of communication services. Just call anyone in Egypt and ask him about the internet service that is provided to him, whether home-based internet service or outdoor service. It is okay you are demanding your rights, but on the other hand, there are streets that are operating based on only one device, and you are sharing a hashtag “Unlimited!! (unlimited Internet services). How come unlimited?
We want to maintain balance, meaning that I take my right and the country takes its right. The problem of stealing the internet must be stopped; citizens must not steal the country’s money. The internet companies, on the other hand, cannot meet all these needs (of clients). Ask people around you “Is your internet service good?”… Why is this happening? It is because there are a lot of people and little revenue to achieve rapid development.
Amr misled his viewers when he attributed the poor internet service in Egypt to citizens sharing a single service provider device in one area, which is not true. Domestic or non-domestic internet service is a prepaid service that is provided in exchange for a specific usage capacity, and the service provider cuts off at the end of the period for which the service is paid. This means that there is no indebtedness on the user after the expiry of that period. Also, the one-region residents sharing the use of one internet service device with the same prepaid balance is a trick that telecommunications companies are aware of, so they don’t provide additional capacity or internet services for use. So, there is no room for stealing the internet as Adib claimed, accusing people of false accusations in order to justify the poor service provided by telecommunications companies. He didn’t adhere to accuracy or verify the integrity of the information he provided.
Third: Printed newspapers
1- Al-Shorouk newspaper, issue of Tuesday, September 21, front page
The newspaper published a news story on its front page with the following headline:
Minister of Finance: Five government companies are included within the offering program during the current fiscal year
The newspaper uses the term “offering program” -the state’s IPO (Initial Public Offering) program- instead of the term “selling”,, and whether it was the one who invented it or quoted the Minister of Finance as saying it, the newspaper should have used the true expression that is understandable for readers. It shouldn’t have used a twisted expression that may dilute the effect of the word “selling” on the public.
The newspaper also didn’t mention any of these five companies, with the exception of the “e-finance”, which makes it, in addition to its evasion, incomplete piece of news.
2- Al-Ahram newspaper, Wednesday, September 22, page 9
Al-Ahram published, on a full page, what it called a “symposium”, but in fact it is closer to an interview with Hisham Talaat Mostafa, which it described in the report’s preface as the following:
“For more than half a century, Hisham Talaat Moustafa, the Egyptian businessman and prominent expert in the construction and real estate development sector, provided an inspiring experience, manifested in a series of real estate projects….”
The newspaper did not refer, either directly or indirectly, to the matter that Hisham Talaat Moustafa had served about 9 years in prison, since September 2008, after being convicted of murdering Suzan Tamim over a final ruling, and that his release was upon a presidential pardon, not a ruling of acquittal.