- “Mada Masr” published an exclusive report… Sada El-Balad, absence of accuracy… “Mobtada”, “Al-Watan”, and “Al-Dostor”, government propaganda “News websites”
- “Al-Wafd”, mixing media with advertising “Print media”
- “Kelma Akhira” propaganda… “With pen and paper”, disinformation and publishing half-truths “Talk shows”
First: News websites
1- Mada Masr publishes, on December 2, a news report on two topics, as it reads:
An Italian parliamentary panel accuses the Egyptian security services of killing “Regeni” | US parliamentary bloc calls for investigation into “Egypt’s misuse of aid”
* An Italian parliamentary commission has officially accused the Egyptian security services of being responsible for the killing of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni, calling on the Egyptian side to “bear its responsibilities,” in a move that comes less than two months after an Italian court suspended- for procedural reasons- the proceedings of the trial of four Egyptian officers over their suspected role in the case.
*Yesterday, Wednesday, the “Human Rights in Egypt Caucus” in the US Congress issued a statement calling on the US administration to immediately investigate the possibility that Egypt misuses US aid in practices that constitute human rights violations.
When you search for this news story in the majority of Egyptian websites, you will not find it, and this is what we did. We didn’t find even one website that addresses this topic, despite the fact that it is covered by many international news agencies. So “Mada Masr” indeed deserves to be praised because it exclusively published the story in a balanced way, where the journalist cited the positions of all its parties; as he mentioned the story of Regeni’s murder and the Italian Parliament and the judiciary’s position as well as Egypt’s Public Prosecution’s statements, giving the reader complete information about the news story.
The same thing applies to the other story of the US Congress, although it lacks response from the Egyptian government, but the journalist is excused, as you’ll not yet find any response to the accusations leveled against Egypt in this regard.
2- “Mobtada” website publishes, on 3 December, a report that says:
The Technical Secretariat of the “Supreme Permanent Committee for Human Rights” issued a report on national efforts to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, on the occasion of Egypt’s celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), which is marked on December 3 of every year.
The report comes within the framework of a series of reports that the Technical Secretariat of the Permanent Supreme Committee has been issuing in the context of Egypt’s celebration of a number of international and international human rights days, and in confirmation of the Egyptian state’s commitment to ensuring and promoting human rights, within the framework of its fulfillment of the constitutionally stipulated entitlements and its international commitments in this field.
* The report came as propaganda because of its wording praising the efforts of the state in caring for people with disabilities and addressing the achievements achieved by one party (the Technical Secretariat of the Permanent Supreme Committee) which is a government agency that periodically issues reports. It neglects the other independent sources to evaluate what was stated in the report issued by the Technical Secretariat of the Permanent Higher Committee for Human Rights, and this makes the report lose its balance and objectivity. The journalist should have tried to go to any of welfare homes catering to people with disabilities to seek their opinions about the care provided to them in order to gain credibility, or to give the reader a different opinion.
3- “Sada El-Balad” publishes on 3 December a news report that says:
An Arab victory at the United Nations | How did Egypt succeed in protecting Al-Quds, Syria’s Golan from Judaization?
A new victory has been achieved by Egypt in favor of Palestine’s occupied city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Syria’s occupied Golan Heights along with the other Arab territories occupied by the Israeli Occupation forces. Yesterday, Ambassador Osama Abdel-Khaleq, Egypt’s permanent representative to the United Nations, stated that the Organization’s General Assembly adopted two draft resolutions put forward by Egypt, regarding Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan.
Political analysts consider the two decisions a severe blow to the Israeli plans, which target building settlements on Jerusalem lands, displacing the residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, as well as an end to all practices caused by the Israeli Occupation, such as attacking worshipers in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and bulldozing its lands from Islamic and Christian religious entities for the Jews.
* The report begins with an exaggerated headline, which makes it an opinion and not an informational or news story. The journalist used two words to describe a recommendation for an oral decision as a “victory and success in stopping the Judaization of Jerusalem and the Golan”. He went on in the report following the same lines of exaggeration without any journalistic scrutiny or fairness. It’s considered a clear professional mistake when a news story says “Egypt succeeded in stopping the Judaization of Jerusalem and the Golan”; because simple readers know about the construction of Jewish settlements everywhere, leading the report and the website to completely lose their credibility.
4- “Al-Watan” news website publishes, on 5 December, a report that reads:
“Public Prosecutor: Egypt is among the top ten in the world in the integrity of the judiciary…
Counselor Hamada Al-Sawy, Egypt’s Public Prosecutor, during his speech at the swearing-in ceremony, congratulated the new assistant prosecutors on the beginning of their mandate. He continued: “At the beginning of your term, it is necessary to take advantage of what you were told today: Abide by the Constitution and work charter, so make sure you stick to it”
The Public Prosecutor added: “There is no place among us for those who are below par, and we will not allow anyone to pollute the dress of the judiciary, and there is no place among us for those who are substandard. Egypt ranks among the world’s top ten countries in the integrity, purity and independence of the judiciary along with the judicial values and traditions which preceded the whole world.”
The report quoted the statements of the Public Prosecutor, and this is part of the journalist’s role, but there is a part that is completely absent here, which is the scrutiny of what the official says and whether the information mentioned deserves to be reviewed and verified or not, in order not to publish or convey inaccurate or misleading information to the public. The Public Prosecutor says that Egypt is among the top ten in the world in the integrity of the judiciary and this is something that needs to be scrutinized because there is no recognized party that issued this classification. On the contrary, Egypt ranked No. 126 out of 129 countries in the rule of law index.
5- “Al-Dostor” news website publishes on 5 December a report that says:
“Support and Empowerment”…The State’s Achievements in the File of People of Determination
Nevin Al-Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity, said that the state’s approach to empowering and integrating the “differently-abled” people is focused on several basic axes, represented in the efforts of government institutions and civil society to promote people of determination, referring to the support of the political leadership and the rise of human rights issues.
During her speech at the “Differently abled” ceremony, Al-Kabbaj reviewed the achievement the Egyptian state, the government agencies and civil society have reaped, noting that this achievement is represented in the following: – The strength of the legal aspect, whether in the constitution or Law No. 10.
– The existence of a conscious parliament that includes representatives of those who are able to differ.
And so the report continues…
* Once you read the headline, you realize that the report will be limited to the government achievements. The only voice that you hear in this report is the voice of the government, as it presents only one party that is the government. When you read the report, you feel as a reader that you are in a country that knows nothing but achievements, and that there is no person of determination who is in needof something that he lacks!
Such kind of news reports should be published by government websites only, not by journalists who are working for independent websites, which should comply with the principles of balance and objectivity; by searching for people of determination and trying to raise their voices, especially the marginalized of them, which makes it clear that it is propaganda report on the government’s efforts.
Second: Print media
- Al-Ahram, issue of 1 December, last page
A news report entitled: “Mohamed Sobhi for (Ain Shams) students:
Egypt is able to stand up again and begins to build the nation”…
The piece quoted actor Mohamed Sobhi as saying “Countries which are destroyed by their peoples had a population less than the population of Egypt, but Egypt was able to stand up again and start building the Egyptian citizen”
The saying “countries that are destroyed by their peoples” is strange and incomprehensible. And we don’t know whether Mohamed Sobhi actually said it, or it is a misspelling from Al-Ahram newspaper. But it remains illogical, especially that the piece is published in the newspaper’s last page, which is the second most important page after the front page. It is unreasonable that the people can destroy their country!
This can happen in light of the deterioration of journalism Egypt is witnessing, the lack of accuracy and the reluctance of readers as a result.
- Al-Wafd, issue of Sunday December 1, third page
“Hakkawi” column by the chief editor “Wagdi Zein Al-Abidin”
Article’s headline “Misr International Hospital”
In this article, the editor-in-chief criticizes what he deems as “hideous farce”, using the newspaper’s column to the hospital against the backdrop of personal situations.
The editor-in-chief is employing his column for private and personal matters. He also attacked a hospital by name, although his story about the hospital is a matter related to his opinion of its poor service, and not about information or a real incident through which criticism can be directed.
- “Al-Akhbar” newspaper, issue of Monday 6 December, third page
At the top of its third page, the newspaper published a column by the Chairman of its Board of Directors, under the headline (New Morning), in which he writes: “I wish the bill to protect the rights of the elderly which is currently being discussed by the parliament would include a clause calling on young people to abide by the rules of morality and the good choice of words in addressing the elderly like the past days!”
It is unfortunate that this is the opinion of the chairman of the board of directors of Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper because it revealed his lack of understanding of the role of laws, which is to establish a clear and material role or relationship, and not to call for the “adherence to morals!!” This is not the role of laws, since morals are relative and change from time to time and from place to place, as he said at the end of his column, “like the past days” while there weren’t any legal articles in the past related to a specific way of practicing morals or choosing the right words while speaking to the elderly!!.
Mixing media with advertising:
This week witnessed a lot of reports and articles that were presented in a way that confuses the media with advertising, in clear violation of the journalistic code of honor, as follows:
-Al-Wafd newspaper, Thursday 2 December, page 9, an ad for “Madinaty” company entitled:
The first book fair “Helwa Ya Balady” (You’re Beautiful my Country) represents a unique cultural precedent as it is the first event to be held outside the corridors of the Book Authority…
In addition to mixing media with advertising under no explanation, this report carries false information, when it says that this event “represents a unique precedent and the first event held outside the Book Authority”, while in fact many exhibitions and cultural forums have been taking place for years outside the Book Authority, such as the fair held in Faisal District and in Dokki, as well as the famous ” El-Azbakeya Wall”.
Another report in “Al-Wafd” newspaper, page six, on Monday 6 December
An advertisement about Banque du Caire in a full-size page, and about Alexandria and Commercial International Bank!
Three advertisements were published but not indicated that they are advertisements, and were published in a newspaper, most of its editions are released on 8 pages!
This wastes the principle of not confusing the media and advertising for violating the press codes of honor.
Third: Talk shows
* Pen and Paper Program- Nashat El-Dihi- Tuesday 30 December, from minute 51
El-Dihi says: Of course, the Community Protection Sector (formerly The Prison Sector in Egypt’s Ministry of Interior) has witnessed tremendous qualitative development all over Egypt governorates. There is development and adherence to international standards for human rights in the prisons file, in terms of the availability of healthy food, accommodation, and ventilation. I believe that what the community protection sector witnessed in prisons previously is a boom, I mean, a sudden change and represents harbingers of a development taking place in society. We couldn’t have achieved what this development in the prison sector without the presence of a real infrastructure, the establishment of a community protection complex in Wadi al-Natrun. 12 prisons have been closed and the government has rebuilt a place worthy of the implementation of sanctions, worthy of the humanity of these people, and also worthy of Egypt and worthy of human rights developments.
At time El-Daihi is praising the conditions announced by the Ministry of Interior and publishing half-truths, many prisoners are suffering from arbitrary conditions inside their prison, including banning them from exercising and reading, denial of necessary health care, and denial of family visits for long periods, this In addition the suffering many of them endure outside their imprisonment/ detention centers law including the illegal detention after exceeding the legal period of pretrial detention. El-Dihi, however, ignored all these negatives and highlighted the positives announced by the ministry, in grave violation of the media honor charter which obliges him to achieve balance and objectivity.
* “Akher Al-Nahar” program- Mohamed Al-Baz- episode of Friday, 3 December- From minute 14
Al-Baz says: Dr. Mohamed Maait was in a meeting with the UNICEF representative, and he said that the government is going to reduce the burden on the citizens. Some people may comment on this by saying (What burden man, have mercy on us. You, media workers, don’t feel the suffering of the people in the street). I can tell these people that this is not a mere talk. I mean, look at the projects being carried out in “Hayah Karima” (Decent Life), look at the Takaful and Karama (Solidarity and Dignity) Initiative, look at the comprehensive Health Insurance project, look at the money that is being spent to subsidy food commodities.
Although this part of the episode is dedicated to address a direct statement made by the Minister of Finance regarding economic burdens, Al-Baz was content with his personal discretion and indirectly interpreted these statements to answer the citizens’ legitimate questions regarding the direct economic burdens that they suffer in their daily life without referring to the ministry or the one who released such statements. He didn’t refer to any representatives of the Ministry of Finance to clarify these statements or the procedures that will be carried out, but rather he called on citizens to look at the subsidy that the government has lifted leading to the suffering of a large segment of citizens over the past six years, as evidence of alleviating the burdens. So we cannot get what Al-Baz wanted to say. Does what he said constitute evidence for easing the burdens for citizens or for increasing them?
– “Al-Hekaya” TV show- Amr Adib- Episode of Friday 3 December- From minute 10
Amr says: The state must give incentives to the private sector, because the public sector is of course not able to work. So the state, like any other country in the world, must offer very high incentives and tax cuts for businessmen who employ many people in their factories. For example, businessmen who employ15 workers in their factories don’t pay the same amount of taxes as those who employ 1000 workers or 1500 or 2000 or10000. They are not the same. Facilities and incentives should be given to them, as well as more lands to five them the opportunity to expand their work.
Amr gave his viewers a misleading impression that business owners are taxed equally regardless of the operational capacity of each of them, and accordingly demanded tax cuts, concessions and incentives for businessmen with higher operational capacity. But Amr neglected the fact that each business owner deducts from the wages of his workers depending on the rates of taxation and the tax base, and the higher the number of workers, the greater the percentage of deduction from the tax base. So the increase in the number of workers is a reflection of the increase in profits and the increase in the financial solvency of the employer, but Amr neglected such a thing in the comparison he made with other countries. This part of the episode was characterized by a lack of honesty, objectivity and balance.
– On My Responsibility Program – Ahmed Mosa – episode of Saturday 4 December, from 1:59 minute
Mosa says: Tomorrow the situation in Alexandria seems difficult and this is why the Alexandria Governor Muhammad Al-Sharif ordered a vacation as appeared on his official page. Heavy rain is expected and it will be a difficult day, and therefore it is better, instead, that people stay at their homes, in order not to repeat the crisis that took place a week ago, when people were triggered by rainfall and get stuck in traffic and it was very chaotic. So it’s better to stay at home and take a vacation because in case of floods, the authorities could manage to handle it away from private cars and the movement of people.
Mosa believes that it is better for Alexandria residents to take a vacation to avoid the heavy rains instead of questioning or even pointing out the inefficiency of the drainage systems and the deterioration of infrastructure and how it failed to absorb all the water, creating a heavy traffic jam resulting from the pools of water. Mosa didn’t comply with objectivity stipulated in the media honor charter. Instead of praising the decision to suspend work, he should have first discussed the priorities of public spending and the reason for the authorities’ neglecting the modernization of drainage networks and demanded the speedy completion of drainage maintenance in order to raise its efficiency to absorb the water of rainfalls and not resort to taking the day off at the end.
– Lamis Al Hadidi – Saturday 4 December episode, from 38 minute
The Ministry of Petroleum announced an increase in the price of the propane gas bottle, whether domestic or commercial. The domestic gas price has been increased by 5 pounds, from 65 to 70 pounds, and the commercial has been increased by 10 pounds, from 130 to 140 pounds. But why do we import 55% of our consumption of gas? We have been talking for two months about high prices of oil, global inflation, and extension chains; because we are importing this oil derivative. However, if the increase in oil prices in Egypt depends on global prices, the increase would have been much more than the actual increase, but the Egyptian government still subsidies the propane gas, so if someone says that oil subsidy has been lifted, I would say that lifting it is the right thing to do.
Lamis didn’t abide by the principles of credibility and objectivity. In terms of credibility, the price of a propane (home) gas bottle before lifting its subsidy has reached 85 pounds in some areas, not 65 pounds as she mentioned. Also, when referring to international prices, she should have also addressed the salaries and wages of workers in those countries, not to mention the fact that she turned her program to a propaganda platform for the government and a mouthpiece for its viewpoints, instead of viewing different opinions, points of view, and news.
Fourth: General comment
* Although several weeks have passed since the absence of the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Higher Education taking over her duties, the government hasn’t announced, till now, the truth of the matter and the reasons for the absence of the Minister of Health, nor did any media outlet address the matter or raise a question regarding her absence, violation of the role of the press and the circulation of information.
* With the exception the two websites “Al-Manassa, Mada Masr” that are blocked from readers in Egypt, the Egyptian media, with its press, news websites and news programs, still ignores the case of the “Sirli” documents scandal disclosed by the French intelligence company “Disclose”, and neglects any news or official response regarding this major scandal.
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.