- “Al-Wafd”, propagating “Hesba” political cases… Al-Ahram, Al-Wafd and El-Masry Al-Youm, confusion between media reporting and advertising (Print media)
- “Pen and Paper” TV program, verbal insults…”Kelma Akhira”, contradictory remarks (Talk shows)
- “Tuk-tuks” report in “Masrawy” vs. Mada Masr websites… and professionalism and journalistic exclusiveness in “Al-Manassa” website (News websites)
First: Print media
– Al-Shoruk newspaper, issue of 9 November 2021
– “Al-Wafd” newspaper, issue of 9 November 2021
– “Al-Ahaly” newspaper, issue of 10 November 2021
“Al-Shorouk” newspaper published in its front page a news story about “increasing number of Border Guards troops and boosting their capabilities in the border zone in Rafah”, quoting the Military Spokesman Colonel Gharib Abdel Hafez Ghareeb as saying “in light of the Armed Forces’ keenness to maintain national security and control the northeastern borders, after the joint military committee had succeeded in amending a security agreement with the Israeli side, to increase the number of Border Guards troops and boost their capabilities in the border zone in Rafah”. The same news piece is also published in “Al-Wafd” newspaper’s second page on the same day and in “Al-Ahaly” newspaper’s front page.
“Al-Shorouk” newspaper contented itself with citing statements from the military spokesman without subjecting them to the tools of journalistic analysis so as to clarify to the reader the reasons behind such amendments at the present time, especially that they pertain to the most dangerous and sacred areas of Egypt (Sinai) as well as the most controversial and sensitive Egyptian agreements, which is the Camp David Accords that Egypt signed with the Israeli side. Furthermore, the piece lacks detailed information as it didn’t clarify the nature of the amendments that have been made in the agreement. It didn’t also bring any opinions or viewpoints from strategic and military experts. The same thing applies to Al-Wafd and Al-Ahaly newspapers where the news stories were also published without any analytical consideration despite its great importance.
– “Al-Wafd” newspaper, issue of 10 November 2021
Journalist Samia Farouk wrote on the newspaper’s second page: After congratulating “Abu Trika” on his birthday, a report has been filed against Al-Ahly club chairman and the administrators of the club’s official page on social media. Lawyer Samir Sabry lodged an urgent report to the Public Prosecutor and the Supreme State Security Prosecution against the chairman and members of the Al-Ahly club’s board of directors, along with the admins of the Al-Ahly club Facebook page. The complaint asserted that this action (congratulating Abu Trika) represents a blatant defiance of the decisions of the Egyptian judiciary, the constitution and the law, alongside the feelings of the families of the martyrs. Al-Ahly Club, through its official Facebook page, congratulated the ex-footballer saying “Oh, oh, oh Trika… Today we celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Hearts, Muhammad Muhammad Muhammad Abu Trika, we wish happy birthday to you”.
Once again, complaints by lawyer Samir Sabry topped the Egyptian newspapers. These complaints are nothing but political “Hesba” lawsuits (cases filed by private parties in the name of protecting state interests). Reporting about these lawsuits contributes to only promoting the name of the lawyer (plaintiff) and most of them end in nothing.
In this piece, the newspaper just focused on reciting the details of the complaint submitted to the Prosecution, without checking the validity of the aforementioned information or paying attention to the right to response. It is true that former Al-Ahly club player Muhammad Abu Trika is placed on the lists of terrorism, but it is a precautionary measure and no final ruling is issued against him by any of the Egyptian courts entailing any conviction related to terrorism charges.
– Al-Akhbar newspaper, issue of 10 November 2021
“The Constitutional Court rejects the lawsuit demanding to invalidate the Journalists Syndicate Law and the conditions arising from imposing sequestration on the syndicate”, this is the headline of a news story published on the newspaper’s third page. It said that the Supreme Constitutional Court has turned down a lawsuit that demanded that some articles of Law No. 76 of 1970 regarding the Journalists Syndicate be deemed unconstitutional. The court also rejected the lawsuit that demanded the unconstitutionality of the last paragraph of Article 10 of Law 69 of 1974, amended by Law 114 of 1975 regarding the settlement of situations arising from imposing guard sequestration on the Journalists Syndicate.
The report entails inadequate information. It is completely vague and doesn’t provide any benefit to the reader. It didn’t answer any of the basic press questions that form a proper and complete piece of news, as it didn’t provide any explanation or details about the nature of the lawsuits filed before courts or the party that filed them (the plaintiffs). It didn’t also give a brief glance for the history of these lawsuits, and even worse, it didn’t provide readers with any information about the abovementioned legal articles demanded to be amended. So, somehow, we didn’t know what the problem was? When did it happen? And why did it happen? We didn’t know anything at all.
Advertisements in the form of news
Egyptian newspapers still continue to deceive readers and violate the rules of the profession and the code of journalistic and media conduct, which stipulates the need to separate unambiguously between news and media materials on one hand and advertising and propaganda materials on the other hand in dividing lines that are clear enough to the reader. However, newspapers continue to publish advertisements in the form of news reports and here are some examples of what we have observed during the past week:
– Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper on November 9, 2021
On its eighth page specialized in news related to real estate, the newspaper published more than one advertisement for real estate companies, most notably Palm Hills Development Company and Landmark Development Company.
-Al-Wafd newspaper on November 9, 2021
The newspaper allocated nearly half of the sixth page space for promoting the Delta University of Science and Technology, and the advertisement came entirely in the form of a piece of news. And we doubt that this piece is paid advertisements which deceive the reader.
– Al-Ahram newspaper on November 9, 2021
Covering the quarter of the eighth page, Al-Ahram newspaper published an advertisement promoting Huawei Company highlighting its latest products and technological solutions to achieve digital transformation in various sectors, and this in a complete news format, which is difficult for a non-specialist reader to distinguish. The same applies to the ads published in page six in the same issue.
Second: Talks shows
- “On My Responsibility”, Ahmed Mosa, Tuesday 9 November
Mosa said about the customs shipment system (Cargo Pre-Registration System): “I want to tell you that the European Union pointed at the system last year, and we pointed at it last year. Egypt was able to operate this system within 6 months. The European Union announced last year, in October 2020, that it will be operating the system in 2024, as it is giving itself a space, but we didn’t do that. We have implemented it in only 6 months, while the EU still has 3 years ahead to implement it.
Mosa claimed that the Cargo Pre-Registration System is not applied in the European Union countries and that Europe is waiting for its implementation after 3 years, and this is not true. This system has already been applied by the European EU since early 2011 and what will be implemented after years is the development of this system to comply with the current customs laws there. Mosa didn’t display accuracy, honesty or truthfulness in the information he conveyed to his viewers.
* “Pen and Paper”, Nashat El-Dihi, episode of Tuesday 9 November
El-Dihi said: “Here from Cairo, I am clearly saying that you are raising snakes. This is not a Brotherhood sheep, but a pig. Excuse me; from now on I will not use the word (sheep) for describing the Brotherhood. Who told you Gamal, you pig, that Egypt supports the foreign presence in any An Arab country? You read with half an eye and half a mind, because you are an emasculated loser and have no dignity.
This part of the episode is full of verbal insults and profanities, which violates the code of conduct on media performance (item 13 thereof), which stipulates adherence to the values and morals of society in press and media discourse and the non-use of offensive language/ gestures, verbal insults and profanities.
- “El-Hekayah”, Amr Adib, episode of Friday 12 November
Adib said: I noticed that people are getting married and divorced on social media. And among the clear signs of divorce, as I heard, is to “block your spouse” and this means that the couple got divorced on social media instead of getting divorced on paper. Among other signs of divorce is to remove pictures of your spouse from your account or to “unfollow” him. Additionally, we find people on social media interfering in the relationship of a couple; one might say “He (the husband) is the one to blame” while others say “she (wife) is the one to blame”, you might find someone who is jealous of him or her. The last case of such a thing is reflected in the divorce of actress Menna Arafa, it was announced her return to her husband, but what I care about here is that “the third party” remains the main reason for the breakup.
In this part of the episode, Adib strayed behind social media disputes and the “trendy” issues pertaining to quarrels between fans of artists and public figures among social media users, and such things shouldn’t amount to the media level or be among the priorities of the media anchor in a way that reflects the real priorities of society, away from the abhorrent excitement and void quarrels.
- “Akher Al-Nahar” TV show, Mohamed Al-Baz, episode of Saturday 13 November
Al-Baz says: The issue of the curriculum for fourth grade primary students is an existential issue. It is indeed a very serious issue to some people. Let’s tackle the matter from its outset; as we find some people who are dealing with such issues in a scary and shocking way. For example, a parent has recorded a video for his son and posted it on social media, but when you watch it you feel shocked. I want to show this video to you, I mean part of the panic that is disseminated among fourth grade primary students, when a little child in grade (4) said that he is going to die.
Al-Baz aired the video of the child he referred to without noting that he had obtained the consent of his parent, which constitutes a violation of Article 15 of the Code of Professional Conduct for Media Performance which stipulates compliance with the provisions of the Child Protection Law and ensures that children/minors don’t appear or participate in any press or media content except with the consent of the guardian (his parents). Also, although he hosted some parents opposing the new Grade 4 curriculum, the parent of this child (the video child) is not among them. The media anchor also accused the child of attempting to evade studying his school materials, and deprived him his the right of response guaranteed in the Media Code of Honor.
- “Kelma Akhira”, Lamis El-Hadidi, episode of Saturday 13 November
The stock market is not separate from the economy; there must be a complete economic environment that attracts investment because this market is a mirror of what is happening in the Egyptian economy. The story is not about rules, but about a complete and ive investment climate, less strict rules, less expenses, more competitive with neighboring stock exchanges, and once again the stock exchange is the mirror that reflects the economy. And our economy is in a very good position. But in fact, the state of the stock market doesn’t reflect the state of the economy whatsoever.
Lamis contradicted herself during her coverage of the stock market news. While she stressed in more than one place that there is a close link between the stock market and the economy asserting that the first is a mirror of the second, and despite shedding light on the stock market’s deterioration, she emphasized that the Egyptian economy is very good, ignoring the possibility that this deterioration in the stock market is a real indicator of situation of the Egyptian economy which is based on debt, the expansion of taxes, and the importation of most of its needs from abroad. Lamis hence didn’t commit to the balance and objectivity stipulated in the Media Honor Charter.
Third: News websites
1- “Masrawy” websites publishes on 9 November a news report that reads:
Replacing it with gas-powered cars…Details and reasons for halting import of “Tuk Tuks”
Today, Nevin Gamea, Minister of Trade and Industry, announced halting the import of manufacturing components for the three-wheeled auto-rickshaws- locally known as tuk-tuks-, in line with the country’s plans to “develop the transportation system and provide safe vehicles”.
To this end, the government made it possible to replace the tuk-tuk with the “vant” car, as part of the initiative to replace cars that it launched this year at a reduced interest.
Government estimates indicate that there are about 2.5 million tuk-tuks operating in Egypt, of which only 10% are licensed.
The website published an important government decision that influences the work of millions of people, citing the reasons promoted by that the government to justify such a decision. But the report is devoid of any other point of view commenting on the decision, especially since there are “2.5 million tuk-tuks” operating in Egypt, as the report said. The journalist should have included how tuk-tuk drivers will be affected by this decision with the possibility of losing their work within a few years, and this makes the report lose its objective and balance. On the other hand, Mada Masr news website published a report that covers the same issue, but we can see a clear difference in the journalistic approach dealing with the same piece of news, as is clear in the following lines.
2- Mada Masr publishes on 10 November a news report that reads:
Yesterday, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry decided to halt the import of manufacturing components for the three-wheeled auto-rickshaws, locally known as “tuk-tuks”, including the base, chassis and engine, a decision that came after a thorough study by all concerned agencies, according to the ministry’s statement.
Mostafa El-Mekkawy, member of the General Division for Importers, who owns a factory for complementary spare parts for tuk-tuks, deemed the decision “catastrophic”, saying that it ignores the economic, social and humanitarian dimension of a large segment of people who deal with tuk-tuks in the Egyptian street, especially owners of small investments and various segments of employment. .
Al-Makawi pointed out that the estimates of direct and indirect employment in the tuk-tuk industry exceed 10 million workers, and that the volume of investments in activities related to that industry amounts to 5 billion pounds in import activities, and about 60 to 80 factories for industries, other than the concerned activity itself.
When you read the Mada Masr report, you will figure out the big difference in covering the government’s decision to halt the import of tuk-tuk manufacturing components, compared to the “Masrawy” report and perhaps some other news websites. In Mada Masr’s report, you find a clear balance as it cited the government’s point of view along with the other point of view supported by information that says how millions of people working in this field will be affected by this decision. Thus, it becomes clear to the journalist how he can write simply, objectively and fairly, without giving priority to one party over the other in any issue so as to preserve his journalistic independence and impartiality.
– “Mobtada” website published on 11 November a news story that reads:
Breaking news- Sudan… A constitutional decree to form the Transitional Sovereignty Council
Today, Thursday, the Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, issued Constitutional Decree No. 21 to form the Transitional Sovereignty Council.
The formation of the Transitional Sovereignty Council will be as follows: …..….. (Names of the council’s members)
The piece from its outset raises many questions instead of giving information. It says “a constitutional decree” though what is happening in Sudan is not based on a constitution, but rather all countries of the world are calling for a return to work on the constitutional document. The news piece is trying to add a constitutional form to the decision of the army commander in Sudan, which makes it devoid of impartiality, fairness and balance. The news story also didn’t cite any remarks about the reactions of the opposition power or any comment from the international parties, despite the fact that all news websites have quoted statements from the United Nations on the appointment of the council. The website could have followed the piece with other news stories tackling the reaction of the Sudanese and international community. But when you search, you will not find a single piece of news about the issue, and this means deliberate blackout.
– “Al-Dostor” website publishes on 12 November a news story that says:
“Pornographic remarks”… Hani Shaker reveals the reason for preventing Hassan Shakoush from singing
Singer Hani Shaker, head of the Syndicate of Musical Professions, commented on his recent decision to permanently suspend popular singer Hassan Shakoush from singing, which sparked controversy during the last period.
Shaker said, in exclusive statements to Al-Dostor, that Hassan Shakoush should have been stopped after his disagreement with singer Reda El Bahrawy during their concert on the North Coast last summer.
He added that this suspension took place two months ago and was due to the pornographic and immoral words uttered by him on the stage of the concert.
The news piece lacks balance and fairness; as it recounts the reasons behind the decision issued by Hani Shaker, the chairman of the musical professions syndicate, without mentioning any defense from the other party (Hassan Shakoush) denying him the right of reply/response, which is an essential part of the principles of journalism in publishing such news.
– “Al-Manassa” website publishes on 13 November a news report that reads:
1.25 million Pounds to run in the elections
More than a year after the formation of the new Egyptian parliament, with its two chambers (the Senate and the House of Representatives), the North Giza Court of First Instance will begin on November 23, 2021 considering litigation case that brings to the fore the way state- affiliated parties choose their candidates within the electoral coalition “For the Love of Egypt” (Fi Hob Misr) national list, and reveals how “money played an important and influential role” in forming these parties.
In a lawsuit filed by Mustafa Abu Fakhra, the former Secretary-General of the Wafd Party in Beni Suef governorate, before the North Giza Court of First Instance, he demanded that the head of the Wafd Party Bahaa El-Din Abu Shaqqa, and Ayman Mohamed Sayed, the party’s financial director, refund the 1.25 million pounds he had paid in exchange for his candidacy on the national list that ran in the Senate elections as a representative of the party.
According to the lawsuit that carried No. 3437 of 2021 (north of Giza Civilian), it was agreed that Abu Fakhra would refund the full amount of money in case he isn’t represented on the national list by the Wafd Party, stressing that the agreement was made with the knowledge of all the party leaders at the time, and accordingly he paid the aforementioned amount on Four installments.
“Al-Manassa” website has made an exclusive report as you will find this topic on most Egyptian news websites. The report reveals an exciting case that is being considered before the judiciary about how parliamentarians are chosen, which deserves attention from most news platforms. The piece explains the case in a clear language and style of writing, and cited the statements of the other party in the case, the plaintiff “Mustafa Abu Fakhra”, who claims that he paid money to run on the national list elections, along with his lawyer Essam al-Islambouli. You will not find however any remarks or comments by the Wafd Party (the respondent), so you may think that the report lacks fairness and balance. But it is indeed a fair report as the journalist wrote at its end that he had contacted the head of the Wafd Party, Counselor Baha Abu Shaqqa, but he refused to comment and stressed that he would respond in court. Thus the website succeeded in distancing itself from any bias or lack of commitment to the principles of journalism.
– “Al-Watan” website publishes a report on 15 November saying:
“Non-vaccinated employees will not be allowed to enter their workplaces in all ministries, government institutions and facilities as of November 15, as part of the preventive measures taken by the Egyptian state to limit the spread of the coronavirus”…
The report referred to a survey conducted by the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC) which found that 2 out of 3 citizens from those questioned supported the step banning unvaccinated employees from entering their workplaces in government facilities. The poll added that 14.1 percent of those involved opposed the step, considering that the majority of Egyptians hold positive views regarding denying unvaccinated citizens access to government premises.
The website cited the government’s decision (regarding banning unvaccinated state employees from entering their workplaces) and everything that supports the decision, even the survey that is conducted by a government-affiliated body, the Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC). The piece only presents one point of view (the government’s viewpoint) in a breach of the principles of neutrality and impartiality. However, it indirectly indicates that there are employees who haven’t yet received the coronavirus vaccine and even are refusing to receive it, but the report didn’t mention the reasons why they took this position. Even if this position is wrong, the report should have mentioned it in order to preserve the principles of balance and fairness. Furthermore, the report didn’t mention the fact that this government decision entails bringing some employees- didn’t mention how many- to punishment in case that they are not allowed entering their workplaces. So the report provided inadequate and insufficient information about the extent to which the work of those employees will be affected in their absence.
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.