* “On My Responsibility” program: false information, “Pen and Paper” program: fabricated information “TV shows”
* “Al-Wafd” newspaper: promoting lawyers of “Hesba” cases, “Al-Ahram”: advertising and publicity in the form of a news story “printed newspapers”
* “Mobtada” website: the accused is convicted, “El-Watan” & “Sada El-Balad”: governmental propaganda, “Al-Manassa”: a professional press report “News websites”
First: News websites
– “El-Watan” news website publishes, on 6 October, a report that reads:
“426 projects carried out in Sinai within 7 years with billions of pounds, most notably the Greater Transfiguration at St. Catherine
Assem El-Gazzar, Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, said that the Central Agency for Reconstruction, affiliated to the Ministry of Housing, has carried out 426 projects in Sinai and Suez Canal cities with billions of pounds since 2014, in the context of intensifying efforts to serve the people of Sinai and Suez Canal cities; since the development of this region is a matter of national security to Egypt. ”
*The report lists a lot of information and figures quoting the Minister of Housing’s statements, all of which entail striking numbers which prompts any journalist to investigate the impact of these large and multiple projects on Sinai and its people for his press report to be comprehensive. But unfortunately, the report relied only on the government officials’ remarks only making it lose balance and scrutiny of the information from independent bodies or even from citizens living in Sinai.
The report also is devoid of any information about the state of emergency that Sinai has been experiencing for years and didn’t answer any questions about the relationship of these projects to security and the reconstruction of Sinai, a large part of which is witnessing a war against terrorism, according to the state.
– “Mobtada” website publishes, on 6 October, a news story that says:
“Trial of Ziyad Al-Alimi and others set today on charges of spreading false news
Today, Wednesday, the Emergency State Security Misdemeanors Court will continue presiding over the trial of Ziyad Al-Alimi and 5 others, accused of publishing false statements and news.
The Supreme State Security Prosecution had referred Case No. 957 of 2012, in which Ziyad Al-Alimi, Hisham Fouad, Hossam Mounes, Hossam Nasser, Muhammad Masoud and Fatima Abu Al-Maati, are charged with publishing false news and statements that threaten national security.”
When you look into this piece of news, you will only find the accusations leveled against Ziyad Al-Alimi and the other defendants, which makes it devoid of the value of balance and fairness; as it didn’t convey to the reader the defenses brought by their lawyers. In all forms of news reports covering any case that includes accused parties, if the editor is not aware of the defense pleadings made by the defendants’ lawyers, he should write that ” the accused deny committing the crime”. But in this report, the editor implies that the case is already settled, as if the accused is convicted until proven innocent, and not vice versa “the accused is innocent until proven guilty” as the legal and journalistic rule stipulates.
–Sada El-Balad website publishes, on 10 October, a report that says:
The Egyptian state has been able to achieve economic stability through policies that are based on strong foundations and strategic dimensions, which has borne fruit with the gains of economic and structural reforms and ongoing development processes on various axes and directions, in a way that helped sustain the improvement of economic indicators and made the national economy able to face challenges and withstand internal and external shocks in light of its flexibility and diversity. This is reflected in the international institutions’ vision and perception towards the Egyptian economy placing it in advanced positions in global rankings, and giving a positive and optimistic view of its future performance in the coming years.
This is a propaganda report. At the very outset of his report, the journalist makes his own judgment on the Egyptian state’s economic policies. He used a language that gives the implication that he is part of the news story, which contradicts his impartiality and independence as a journalist. So he turned into a high “praiser” and not a news editor who conveys information to readers so that they can stand on the facts that enable them to judge the success of the government’s policies.
The report lacks objectivity, balance and fairness, as it didn’t cite any independent economist to talk about his assessment or estimation of the situation of the Egyptian economy objectively and without bias. The strange thing is that the report addresses the public debt, but it doesn’t come close to mentioning the public debt’s figure clarifying whether it has fallen or not! What is stranger is that on the same day the report was published, it was reported by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics that consumer price inflation in Egyptian cities has been on the rise.
The report’s link
– “Youm7” website publishes, on 10 October, a news report that reads:
“Learn about the achievements of (Hayah Karima) in supplying sewage and water networks to neediest villages
The Hayah Karima (Decent Life) Initiative, which was launched in 2019, has become a model to be emulated in the development of the neediest villages, especially when it comes to the basic sectors including drinking water, sewage connections, road networks, home rehabilitation, and others. In the following, we presented a number of important information about the projects implemented by the Hayah Karima Initiative in the field of water and sanitation services:”
* News reports have turned into propaganda campaigns with a clear bias practiced by the journalist in drafting and writing his report, which is evident in the headline “Learn about the achievements of (Hayah Karima)” which declares that the journalist is biased and impartial in conveying his report.
The journalist could have shown what the initiative had actually achieved without any interference from him in the news story. He could have let the numbers and figures speak for readers to give them the opportunity to judge themselves without guidance from the journalist. The news piece turned into propaganda and a mere praise and commendation for the government, in flagrant contravention of the principle of objectivity in journalism.
– Al-Manassa news website publishes, on 11 October, a report that reads:
Coronavirus in schools: 80 students in the class and social distance is a daydream
It was 6:30 am when the street in front of a school in Matariya district looked like a marketplace in a slum, after students and parents piled up in front of the school gate waiting to be opened, and as soon as the parents and their children were allowed to enter, they were crammed into the school yard that there was no place for teachers to organize the morning line.
Last Saturday, the new school year started in 11 governorates, and yesterday (Sunday) it started in all schools nationwide. “Al-Manassa” visited one of these schools, located in Matariya district in north Cairo.
When students lined up for the morning assembly, we found that only a few of them wore masks. A lot of teachers and parents (mostly women) were not wearing it as well, while they all stood close together. Parents were concerned about nothing but to check on their children and hand them over to the school administration, which was unable to organize the students’ entry into the courtyard, in a way that could prevent overcrowding, scramble and pile-ups.
This report deserves all sort of appreciation and tribute as it includes all the elements that monitor a specific event or incident. The only thing that’s missing in the report is that it didn’t bring an education official to be confronted by the issues monitored by the website’s reporter on the first days of the new school year. The report is written in a literary language and includes an accurate description of the issue that deserves to be commended. As it is clear in the report, the journalist demonstrates the situation of first school days by interviewing parents and teachers, which confirms its accuracy, the most important element of journalism. The report also deserves applause because it is totally different from the reports published by the majority of the Egyptian news websites, which bear nothing but mere commendation and emphasis on the governmental achievements, and this is not the role of journalism. The main role of journalism is rather represented in monitoring and observation to help the government avoid crises, especially when it is related to young children starting their new school year.
Third: Printed newspapers
– Al-Ahkbar newspaper, Issue No 21687, released on 5 October 2021
Al-Akhbar newspaper published a news story, on the fourth page, about the parliament’s approval of a republican resolution that stipulates taking measures to confront terrorism in Sinai. The first article of the resolution involves: prohibiting the use of certain means of communication in certain places, setting dates for roaming and movement in certain places, evacuating some places, prohibiting residence in certain places, prohibiting the possession of certain materials, and prohibiting the use of motorbikes, in addition to the suspension of classes in schools (totally or partially) and the prohibition of the circulation of dual-use materials. The second article included the imposition of a curfew in the areas specified by the Minister of Defense. The third article stipulated that the Armed forces and the civil police implement the aforementioned measures to confront the dangers of terrorism to maintain security, protect citizens and save their lives. Article 4 stipulates that the Minister of Defense shall issue the decisions taken in this regard. Article 5 stipulates that the decision of the President of the Republic shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall be enforced from the date of its publication for a period of six months.
The newspaper contented itself with publishing the details of the Republican decision without providing any additional comment or analytical view from journalists or researchers concerned with the situation in Sinai. We also didn’t know the impact of such a decision on the people of Sinai, but we already know very well that the people of Sinai have been suffering for several years from the horrors of extremism and terrorism on the one hand, and from the strict security measures imposed on them on the other hand.
Recently, it seems that the situation in Sinai has become more stable, as the Egyptian regime and its security services affirmed; especially after the Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 launched by the Egyptian army following the “Al-Rawda Mosque” incidents in order to contain terrorism and maintain a tight grip on the Takfiri groups and subjugate them in North and Central Sinai. And since then, the numbers of terrorist operations and armed attacks on security ambushes have decreased, according to official statements.
Given the abovementioned factors, the Republican resolution is an enigma at the present time, especially that it contains many loose and vaguely-worded articles that bear more than one interpretation and grant the security services absolute power to control the public and private lives of citizens in Sinai without consideration or possibility to be subject to oversight or accountability. For example, the resolution prohibits the use of certain means of communication without specifying these means, and imposes curfew in certain places and times while evacuating other places without specifying any clear criteria. Although quoting the resolution’s articles in the news piece is not a professional error in itself, the newspaper only introduces the official picture of the resolution and ignores its critical, analytical and legal aspect. The role of journalism is to objectively discuss, in details, such important decision and present different points of views and specialized opinions. We also noted that this piece of news was published on the same day in many other newspapers, such as Al-Ahram Al-Masry Al-Youm, and “Al-Ahaly”, with the same aforementioned wording, and this implicitly indicates that this piece is more of a security bulletin that is sent to press institutions from the competent authorities.
– Al-Wafd newspaper, issue of 5 October 2021, Last page:
Samia Farouk wrote a news piece about “a complaint filed with the Public Prosecutor against rapper Marwan Pablo… for underestimating and degrading Naqshbandi’s supplication (Mawlay)”. The piece reported that lawyer Samir Sabry lodged a report (No. 102768 of 2021) to the Public Prosecutor accusing Pablo of underestimating the religious hymn (made popular by the esteemed Naqshbandi) with disdain and vulgarity by empting it of its religious content using loud music and singing in a dancing party, adding that religious hymn has become a means of sarcasm.
Again and again, reports of “Hesba” cases’ lawyer “Samir Sabry” come into play and unnecessarily gain the focus of press and media coverage. It is strange that newspapers still publish the details of his repeated reports against anyone who is involved in an incident that apparently contradicts the traditions and customs of society or don’t come in line with the official moral system of the state. Such reports curb freedom of opinion and expression, as if Samir Sabry has become the official moral watchdog of the state instead of the competent authorities. Aside from that, the communiqué includes a clear mistake, as the one who sang the supplication in the aforementioned incident is not singer Marwan Pablo but another singer, and Pablo has no nothing to do with the matter.
– Al-Ahaly newspaper, issue of 6 October 2021
Nagwa Ibrahim wrote on the newspaper’s first page that “the Tamween (Food Subsidy System) raises the prices of flour and pasta”. She pointed out that the ministry denied any increase in the prices of supply commodities, adding that the increase in the prices of supply oil came as a result of the rise in its global prices. However, she moved on saying that the price of two commodities (flour and pasta) has increased by 50 piasters per kilo.
The newspaper succeeded in investigating the situation well by citing complaints and testimonies of a number of Tamween cards’ owners regarding the increase in the prices of some food commodities with a percentage that exceeds the one mentioned by the ministry, as well as the shortage of some commodities, which force citizens to resort to purchasing what they need at the most expensive commercial prices.
– Al-Ahram newspaper, issue of 7 October 2021
Muhammad Anz wrote on the third page: “The Journalists Syndicate’s board decided to continue its rejection to grant press accreditation to 6 newspapers, while allowing “Al- Tareeq” newspaper to refer its journalists to the current enrolment committee. The Syndicate’s Council turned down the accreditation request submitted by the ten newspapers, due to failure to reconcile their conditions in accordance with Article 43 of Law 180 of 2018.
The piece’s headline bears a great deal of linguistic confusion, and its body didn’t answer the six most important press questions. It appears that it lacks so much information that it didn’t mention the six newspapers whose accreditation was suspended and the reasons behind this decision.
– Al-Shorouk newspaper, issue No. 4633, October 9, 2021 – page 3
– Al-Ahram newspaper, issue No. 49250, October 9, 2021 – page 3
– Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, issue No. 6326, October 9, 2021 – page 5
The three abovementioned newspapers covered the same news story about the increase in gasoline prices. Al-Ahram said, “Moving the price of gasoline by 25 piasters… diesel fuel price is stable, and no increase in transportation fare.” Al-Masry Al-Youm headlined its news report: “Gasoline prices raised, diesel fuel price remain unchanged, driven by the Brent crude prices”, Al-Shorouk’s news piece headline reads “Governorates: no increase in transportation tariffs following the increase in gasoline prices”.
Al-Ahram newspaper replaced the term “price hike” with another term “price movement”, and this deceives the reader and manipulates his psyche, as the impact of the word “moving” prices is less severe than the term “price rise”. Also it gives an implication that this “movement” may reflect either increase or decrease. On the other hand, the reports published by Al-Shorouk and Al-Masry newspapers are more professional as they clearly conveyed the information without any verbal or phonetic manipulation.
– Al-Ahram newspaper, 10 October 2021
On its sixth page, the newspaper published a piece of news headlined “Expert in Endoscopic Spine Surgery at Helmeya Military Hospital”. The piece continued: “The Armed Forces Hospital in Helmiya for Orthopedics and Supplementation will host Prof. Next November, and the hospital will receive all patients that wish to undergo medical examination in the preparatory clinics, as of tomorrow.
This is not a piece of news in the first place. It’s a paid advertisement that is disguised as a news report, and this deems a clear deception to the reader and a flagrant violation of the rules of the profession and the press codes of honor.
Third: Talk shows
– “Akher Al-Nahar” program, Tamer Amin, episode of Tuesday, 5 October
Tamer said, regarding the social media global outage: we agreed yesterday that no one would reveal what had really happened, and the evidence is what we see today. The idea that the outage is caused by a hacker attack is over; because if true, the company would never acknowledge it, as will remain a very big flaw and shame in the history of the most important social media company in the world if it really subjected to hacking and the penetration of its secrets by a young Chinese guy.
Tamer didn’t verify the information disseminated on social media before broadcasting it, as stipulated by the Media Honor Charter. He took part in the propagation of rumors that spread on Twitter during the outage period that took Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram offline, saying that the reason for the global outage is the work of a Chinese teen hacker who attempted to penetrate the company’s servers and disrupt it, and this was not announced by the affected company nor by any reliable media authority, but rather was propagated in viral tweets without a source.
– On My Responsibility Program – Ahmed Mosa – Tuesday, October 5th episode
Mosa hosted, via phone, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al-Ahram newspaper, Abdel Mohsen Salama, who said:
The October victory is the only Arab and Egyptian victory over two centuries, the nineteenth and twentieth.
Then he talked about Al-Ahram newspaper, tackling another subject, as he said:
“We are talking about the second most important newspaper in the world after the New York Times. Only the New York Times precedes us in the world.”
Mosa didn’t stop at the erroneous historical information propagated by his guest, who overlooked the victories of the Egyptian army during the first half of the nineteenth century during the era of Muhammad Ali. He didn’t pause at his guest’ claims when he alleged that the October victory was the only victory during the previous two centuries. Neither did he discuss the validity of the claims broadcasted in his program nor ensure the correctness of the information presented to his viewers, including the second claim categorizing Al-Ahram newspaper as the second most important newspaper in the world, without giving evidence to prove it or clarify the criterion on which this classification is based. And this constitutes a violation of the first clause of the media honor charter, which stipulates the obligation to be accurate in the information introduced to the audience.
– “Pen and paper” TV program, Nashat Al-Dihi, episode of Tuesday, 5 October
Nashat says: Two or three days ago, a writer affiliated with the Left wrote that Sadat killed himself. I see that Professor Abdullah Al-Sanawi’s article is a falsification of the facts of history, with all due respect to it and to the newspaper’s valuable profile. This article resembles many others, but I shed light on Abdel-Sanawi’s one, because I was expecting him to be objective… We cannot accuse Sadat of killing himself, because when people read this article, they will misunderstand it and this remains a kind of falsification of history and conscience counterfeiting.
Nashat attributed to Al-Sanawi what he didn’t say. The article he referred to doesn’t include the phrase “Sadat was the one who killed himself.” Rather, the writer emphasized that the Islamists are the ones who shot the former president dead. The media professional didn’t adhere to accuracy, honesty and truthfulness of the information he presents to his viewers. Although Al-Sanawi’s article includes a lot of reliable and important historical information that conveys what the political life witnessed during the era of Sadat, Al-Dihi arbitrarily accused the writer of forgery and falsification of history without providing evidence and without referring to the points of forgery in the article, in violation of the Code of Professional Conduct for Media Performance.
– “Al-Hekayah” program, Amr Adim, episode of Friday 9 October
“When oil or gasoline was cheaper, it was worth around 40 and 50, but today, the barrel of oil, for people to know the story, exceeds 80 dollars in the global market. And we’ve agreed that the price of oil will be compatible with the global market through an equation related to the price of a barrel of oil and the exchange rate of countries. So the price of gasoline 100 has increased by a quarter of a pound. Why was it low at the beginning? Because people were sitting in their homes and no one was using the gasoline at the time of the lockdown. But when the world begab to open up, the price of a barrel of oil started to rise.
Amr tried throughout the episode to justify the increase in the price of gasoline by saying that this increase is caused by the exchange rate liberalization that the government had adopted years ago, but Amr during his justification didn’t adhere to accuracy, honesty, objectivity and balance stipulated by the media honor charter. He just told half of the truth by linking the price of oil to the global market, but he didn’t tell us why the price of gasoline in Egypt didn’t decrease when the world price of oil collapsed last year.
– “Al-Hayah Al-Youm“, Lobna Asal, episode of Saturday 9 October
The program hosted Mahmoud Bassiouni, a member of the National Council for Human Rights. He said: We exerted a great effort to improve the punitive conditions in Egypt. Today, punishment in Egypt’s prisons has greatly developed. And I’m saying it before the Western media: all issues inside prisons are transparent. Prisoners, despite their affiliation to certain political currents, are receiving proper treatment, including health treatment. Some people exaggerate this issue a lot, but the Ministry of Interior and state institutions responded to such allegations by the elegant manner and performance they displayed in prisons.
Lobna just confirmed the allegations made by her guest without any attempt to verify them or inquiring about the anonymous testimonies he mentioned about transparency and very good health treatment in prisons, and didn’t respond to the unsubstantiated accusation of “exaggeration” he made against those who criticize prison conditions. She also neglected to present the other point of view, violating the principles of balance, objectivity, and ensuring the right of reply and correction, in accordance with the provisions of the media honor charter (charter No. 2 and 12).
– “Kelma Akhira“, Lamis El-Hadidi, episode of Sunday 10 October
Lamis said: I have a question now while I am watching this report. The state and the Education Ministry have issued many statements that each student will sit on a separate disk in his class and that students will be distributed and divided into groups when the class gets crowded. But here we see that the students piled up over each other and the class is overcrowded. Each disk has 10 students sitting on it, not just one. In this case, we need directors of directorates and school principals to come to a solution and follow up this story. Also, there are many children who are not wearing masks and this scene in itself facilitates the coronavirus infection. This is a story that needs to be well considered.
Lamis is credited with not neglecting the scene of overcrowding in school classes. She demonstrated the contradiction between the state’s announced plan and statements regarding its educational process in light of the new wave of the coronavirus epidemic and the reality on the ground which came in contrast to what the state announced. She also made questions about the one who is responsible for such a crisis, unlike her colleagues who turned blind eye to such scenes and tried to reflect an ideal scene that is contrary to reality. Lamis adhered to objectivity during her coverage of this report, but she shouldn’t have used the word “children” to refer to the students.
- 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.