- “Mobtada” website, mistakes in bulk… “Al-Dostor”, government propaganda…”Al-Watan”, a blackout on an issue and “Mada Masr” exposes it “News websites”
- “Al-Wafd”, absence of professionalism “print media”
- “Kelma Akhira”, publicity and advertisement… “Akher Al-Nahar”, mixing media and news reports with advertisement “Talk shows”
First: News websites
1- “Mobtada” website publishes, on 22 November, a news report that reads:
A comprehensive aid convoy, the President’s gift to the people of Aswan (video)
The Future of the Nation party, or “Mostaqbal Watan”, directed an aid convoy to Aswan Governorate. On its first day, the convoy distributed all aid, including foodstuffs, electrical appliances, school bags and furniture to the people of a number of villages that were harmed by the inclement weather.
This comes in implementation of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s directives to all state agencies to support those affected by bad weather in Aswan Governorate.
This news piece is full of obvious mistakes and errors that may raise a couple of questions, starting from its headline “the president’s gift”; since gifts are always given on happy occasions, and not offered on occasions where people are harmed by rains and bad weather! Also, is this aid actually a gift from the President in the sense that he gave it from his own money?!
The piece then moves on saying that the Nation’s Future Party “directed an aid convoy” meaning that it is not the President who paid the money. The president doesn’t belong to any party, so why does the headline say that it is a gift from the president?! The report makes another mistake when it says “in implementation of the president’s directives to all state agencies” as the Future of the Nation Party is not of course a state agency! The piece is completely inaccurate and full of a series of errors that is totally irrelevant to journalism.
2- “Al-Dostor” publishes, on 24 November, a news story that reads:
Madbouly: The government is keen to support local and international private sector companies
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has met with members of the Board of Directors of the International Coca-Cola Hellenic Company and representatives of Coca-Cola Egypt Bottling Company. The meeting was attended by Nevin Gamea, Minister of Trade and Industry, and Counselor Mohamed Abdel Wahab, CEO of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones.
During the meeting, Dr. Mostafa Madbouly praised Coca-Cola’s long and successful presence in the Egyptian market, welcoming the company’s recent deal to acquire Coca-Cola Egypt Manufacturing and Bottling Company, which reflects its confidence in the performance of the Egyptian economy, stemming from the effectiveness and balance of economic and financial policies, followed by the Egyptian government during the past years.
Reading thing lengthy piece, you won’t find anything that reflects the headline except a sentence quoting the Prime Minister’s statements as saying that he will personally follow up so-and-so. The report turns into propaganda of the government, while the journalist didn’t play any role in showing evidence of the government support for private sector companies, or even denying this support, so the news piece becomes a mere reflection of a government viewpoint without providing documented information that may be useful to readers.
The report’s link
3- “Al-Watan” website publishes on November 27 a news story that says:
Health Ministry: No cases of “Omicron” variant in Egypt, and it can be detected with a PCR test
Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, acting Minister of Health and Population, said that Egypt has not recorded any cases of the new coronavirus variant known as
“Omicron” so far, adding that the state of South Africa has managed to decode the new variant and warned the world about it. He stressed at the same time that the anti-Coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective so far against the virus and that there are PCR machines in all ports and airports to quickly examine those arrived from outside the country, to determine whether they are infected with coronavirus or not.
* The report relies only on an official’s statements in an issue that is considered national security, since there is nothing more important than citizens’ health. The report relies only on one narrative, which is the narrative of the acting Minister of Health and Population, without citing any other narratives that may confirm or deny the minister’s statements in order for citizens to take heed of the “Omicron” new Covid-19 variant. This makes the report lose its accuracy and balance, and we can clearly see the difference between real journalism and government journalism when comparing between Al-Watan’s report and Mada Masr’s coverage of the same topic, as shown in the following lines.
4- “Mada Masr” publishes, on 27 November, a news report that reads:
Despite Abdel Ghaffar’s denial, a source in the “Health Laboratories”: It is impossible to ensure that there are no cases of “Omicron” variant in Egypt.
“In order to be sure whether “Omicron” variant is present in Egypt or not, we must conduct a genetic sequencing test for all infected people, at a cost ranging from five to seven thousand pounds per sample, without calculating any profit margin,” a source in the Central Laboratories of the Ministry of Health told “Mada Masr” on condition of anonymity.
The source expected that Belgium’s first reported case of the new COVID variant “Omicron” for a Belgian woman who tested positive 11 days after returning from Egypt, may be highly political, stressing that there is no scientific basis to prove or deny it. But at the same time, he said that in light of the multiplicity of coronavirus tests’ places in the country given the insufficient control over many of them, it is impossible to be certain that the new COVID-19 variant doesn’t exist in Egypt.
On the official side, on the other hand, the acting Ministry of Health, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, denied the presence of the new COVID variant in Egypt, explaining that the woman may have been infected in Turkey (after spending a transit period in Istanbul) or while she was in Belgium.
Comparing “Mada Masr” report with Al-Watan’s, along with other news websites covering the possible presence of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Egypt, you can pick out the big difference in the professional press coverage vs. the non-professional coverage. Mada Masr’s report cites an opinion of a health specialist- who works in the ministry’s central laboratories- which contradicts the acting Ministry of Health’s opinion, and this gives the report balance and clarifies the whole picture to the readers. And this is the role of journalists; to elucidate the truth about a certain case or issue and convey to the public the available information without obscuring one party for the benefit of the other party, which creates rumors and distrust towards a certain media platform and perhaps even towards the press in general.
5- “Al-Manassa” website publishes on 28 November a press report that you may not find in any of Egypt’s news websites:
A French company accused of complicity in an Egyptian “torture” case
Accused of having sold cyber-surveillance equipment to Egypt, in last October, which would have enabled it to track down and trace opponents, the French company Nexa Technologies is facing new accusation brought by the French judiciary, which is “complicity in acts of torture and enforced disappearance,” according to AFP quoting a source familiar with the case without revealing his identity.
According to this source, the new indictments issued by the judge presiding over the preliminary investigations dates back to October 12, about four months after the indictments of four managers and executives of the company was pronounced, as confirmed by a judicial source, while the company’s lawyer refused to comment on the news.
* What is remarkable about this news piece is that you will not find it in the majority of Egyptian news websites, despite its importance. It refers to a case that shows the cooperation between Egypt and France and not publishing such news is considered a clear blackout. “Al-Manassa” exclusively publishes this news although it quoted a news agency’s report that is available for all other websites, so you can find this report on most of Arab websites, not the Egyptian ones. However, “Al-Manassa” report didn’t manage to give a full coverage of the case as it didn’t bring or cite any comments from the Egyptian government, which makes it lose its balance.
Second: Print Media
- “Al-Wafd” newspaper, issue of Tuesday, November 22, Page No. 3
A news report reads:
Closing the Cleopatra Tunnel, streets of Mustafa Kamel, Mandara and Montazah
The rain wave reveals the negligence of neighborhood officials in Alexandria…
The report involves commendation for the governor and senior government officials while blaming junior officials and employees.
The newspaper praised the government senior officials, while it attacked junior officials and employees and those with limited responsibility, and used them as scapegoat blaming them for the severe damage that occurred in Alexandria following the recent rain wave. It forgot that the responsibility rests with senior officials alongside the absence of local councils for more than 12 years, and that the damage and crises, that are repeated every year, occur as a result of the absence of accountability and the negligence practiced by the government itself and its senior officials headed by the governor, and not by the junior employees who are not authorized to make decisions and don’t have powers nor budget.
* “Al-Shorouk”, issue of Wednesday 24 November, the first and 6th page
On the first page, a headline that reads (Abiy Ahmed: Ethiopia is witnessing its last moments before the collapse).
On the sixth page, the newspaper published the details of the news story under the same headline but with a different context in the body of the report as it reads:
“Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that his country is witnessing its last moments, calling to save it from collapse.”
This is a deliberate misleading, dishonesty, and a waste of journalistic integrity practiced by the newspaper, as it intends to delude and mislead readers with inaccurate formulation, as if the newspaper is among the parties involved in a psychological war (in Ethiopia) and is not part of a press that has to abide by honesty and professionalism while conveying the news.
* “Al-Wafd” newspaper, issue of Monday 29 November, last page
An article by Bahaa El-Din Abu Shaqqa”, the head of “Al-Wafd” party, entitled “A Word of Justice”
Abu Shaqqa says in the article: “Perhaps one of the most important reasons for the spread of this phenomenon is the failure to activate/implement the law of vagrancy and suspicion. This law is enough to eliminate this unfortunate issue and deter beggars…”
The writer, who is the head of the party at the same time, ignored all the causes and factors that lead to the spread of poverty and homelessness, as if the law alone will solve the problem, without social protection programs, discussion of the causes behind the prevalence of the issue and the solution to solve it by many means, among which is the law but it alone won’t be enough.
In addition to that, the writer, who is also a lawyer, turned a blind eye to a ruling that deems the suspicion law unconstitutional, and to the fact that the Constitutional Court considered, in 1993, this law an unjust law that undermines the rights of citizens.
Third: Talk shows
“Akher Al-Nahar”–Tamer Amin – episode of Tuesday 23 November
Tamer hosted the spokesman for the Presidential Initiative to Replace Vehicles, who says: “In case of licensing the three-wheeled “tuk tuk” vehicles, their owners have a legal option as they have the right to choose between replacing the tuk-tuk or maintaining its status and abides by the instructions and rules issued by the authorities concerned with its itineraries, or else take part in the initiative”.
Tamer: “This is another important point. One of the basic conditions for the initiative is the voluntary thing/factor. You license your tuk-tuk in accordance with the new mechanisms and legislation. You have the right to stay, but you will find it difficult at the same time to get the spare parts or manufacturing components”.
Although the initiative entails the “compulsion” factor with regard to tuk-tuk vehicles replacement as the government has halted import of manufacturing components for tuk-tuks. So the matter is not optional as the guest claims and the anchorman didn’t oppose him and considered the matter of “choice” as a major prerequisite of the initiative, instead of opposing this fallacy and showing the ineffectiveness of the alleged factor of “choice”, making this discussion lose its objectivity and principles of balance as stipulated by the media honor charter.
“Paper and pen” – Nashaat Al-Dihi – episode of Tuesday 23 November
I never wanted to talk about anything related to my personality because it is not professional in the media to talk about something personal. I live here in Sheikh Zayed City, next to the Zed Project. I am using my voice as a citizen to complain about the vehicles and vans carrying building and construction materials that are going at a crazy speed in the opposite way. I personally will file a complaint regarding two issues: the vans that transport building materials day and night in the neighborhood in a way that is threatening our lives, and the other issue is the daily parties that take place in the Zed area. I don’t want to speak in a personal way, but my mother can’t sleep because of such parties. One day I was leaving my house and was surprised by carts loaded with building materials coming across me without giving me any consideration.
Although Al-Dihi mentioned in more than one place that he didn’t want to talk about a personal matter in his TV program, he used the media platform to complain about issues in his neighborhood. And although most Egyptians suffer from such problems, he didn’t address them until when he personally got affected by it. We don’t deny the media worker’s right to file reports to the concerned authorities, who bear the responsibility for the non-enforcement of the law, but according to the media honor code, he shouldn’t have used his media platform in his personal matters.
“Kelma Akhira”- Lamis El Hadidy – episode of Tuesday 23 November
Lamis hosted businessman Yassin Mansour, who said: The state has finally taken some steps and initiatives. The ratio was 3% on those low-income earners, about 1,400,000 pounds, with all finishes done. And now the state makes another initiative, 8%, about 2,500,000 pounds, and this in itself is something good. It must be developed because the problem is not only in the price, but the problem is in the price and the procedures all together. So I am calling on the state, and I’m sure it will consider my demand, to facilitate the procedures in order to make it easier for people who buy from us, to receive his housing unit throughout 8 or 10 years, and the procedures will be very easy then.
This part of the episode is unrealistic and carries a lot of provocation to the low-income people whom the guest talked about, claiming that the above-mentioned prices fit their financial capabilities. For example, in the first initiative, citizens who want to buy a housing until will be obligated to pay a monthly premium of about 11,600 pounds, and if we apply the economic rule the that the housing item must equal one third of the income, the target buyer here must be receiving an income of more than 30,000 pounds a month. So it seems that the guest has a different definition of low-income people, which Lamis didn’t comment on making this discussion lose balance in dealing with the issue in a way did not fit the priorities the guest talked about, not to mention the fact that the episode turned into an tool of advertisement for the guest and his company.
“Akher Al-Nahar”- Tamer Amin- episode of 29 November
Tamer said: There is a friend that has recently appeared in our lives. Sometimes in our lives, in our plights, problems, and distress that we have passed through, as well as in the difficult choices when we are at a crossroads, we have to determine the choice that will determine the fate of our future, so in these cases, we need a reliable person to consult with. And we are confident that this person will help us in a scientific and honest way. This friend is the life coach, or the human development coach or the social consultant. Among these friends, I am introducing you to Mrs. Rania Shalaby who we are interviewing via phone.
As usual, Tamer allocates, from time to time, part of his program to mix media materials with advertising materials, in violation of the media honor charter and the code of professional conduct for media performance, which obligate media workers to make a clear and explicit separation between the two things (media and advertising). After the introduction that he gave, we found out that the guest is the founder of one of the companies working in the field of human development, and given his description of the guest as a “friend”, which he repeated several times, it becomes inevitable to ask this question “Does Tamer use his media platform to achieve advertising benefits for his friends’ projects?
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.