- “Cairo 24”, misinformation… “Sada Al-Bald”, opinions not news…”Youm7″, propaganda mouthpiece… “Al-Manassa”, a comprehensive report “News websites“
- “On My Responsibility” Program, disinformation… “Al-Hekaya” Program, promotion and propaganda “Talk shows”
- “Al-Wafd” newspaper, false information… “Al-Akhbar”, promotion and propaganda “Print media”
First news websites
* “Mobtada” news website publishes a report on 22 December saying:
Tarek El Molla, Minister of Petroleum, said that Egypt’s production of gasoline has reached 6 million tons, thanks to state projects in this sector.
During his speech on the sidelines of the inauguration of a number of development projects in Assiut governorate, El-Molla added that the project of the gasoline production complex in Assiut cost 7.2 billion pounds, with a local component of 62%, within 40 months, and was established by 2,000 workers.
When the audience reads this new piece, they may ask some logical questions “How could this gasoline complex benefit us?” and “Will fuel prices drop as a result?” in addition to other questions that the report doesn’t answer. The piece is limited to citing the statements of officials that are only promoting the government, while the role of journalism is to answer all the questions pertaining to the topic, and if there is no answer, the journalist can say that there is a point or missing information that is such and such (determine them).
- “Cairo 24” publishes an article on December 24 that says:
Osama Al-Azhari: MB and Salafist youth are atheists because of the practices of their groups
Dr. Osama Al-Azhari, President’s Adviser on Religious Affairs and a scholar at Al-Azhar University, said that some young people affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafism, and youth of extremist currents became atheists because of the practices of the groups to which they belong.
He added during the “Al-Haq Al Mubin” program presented by journalist Ahmed Al-Darini and broadcast on DMC: “I had an imagination in 2013 and 2014, which is that those bitter and unfortunate years would result in the MB and Salafist youth and currents of extremism will be divided into four categories…”
* The journalist quotes the statements of Sheikh Osama Al-Azhari delivered on a television program without any refutation of such statements or evidence, even though the Sheikh is speaking about an absent group of people who are denied the right to respond, which turns the piece to a journalistic distortion that is completely devoid of the principle of fairness. The journalist conveys the words of the sheikh, who says that groups of MB youth are atheists, and didn’t face any response from the anchor who hosted the sheikh on his program. The news piece didn’t make any effort to make up for what the anchor had neglected in order to scrutinize the matter and try to be fair and reach any other opinions pertaining to the subject, and as a result, Al-Azhari’s opinion is turned into one fact that the public must accept.
The link of the opinion piece “not a news piece”
* Sada Al-Balad website publishes, on December 26, a news story that reads:
Human rights first… 14 achievements by the Ministry of the Interior during the era of President Sisi “video”
The Ministry of Interior has made many achievements during the 7 years since the inauguration of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, during which the country witnessed a great development in all state institutions, especially the Ministry of Interior. Such achievements have helped accelerate development and investment in the country during this period, as the Ministry of Interior has played a major role in restoring security and stability to the country, which contributes to providing the climate to boost development and move forward in building the modern Egyptian state.
This news piece could be an opinion piece, especially with the headline “Human Rights First”, but it cannot be a news article that presents real and unbiased information.
The journalist interfered in the piece and said his opinion in a very clear promotional language, as if he was publishing a paid propaganda report. He could have distanced himself and only quoted the Ministry of Interior’s remarks, but he didn’t do so, and of course he didn’t also bring any neutral expert to evaluate what is being promoted, making the piece lack balance and fairness.
* Mada Masr publishes a report on December 22 saying:
Director of “Ration Cards”: We were surprised by the President’s statements… and “we need official directives in order to understand and then implement”…
“We will no longer give out subsidy cards to more than two people in the old [subsidy card] system, and in the new system, no, nothing”. This was part of the statements by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi regarding the subsidised food cards, which received extensive press coverage, due to the importance of the file, without confirmation on specific information that can be understood from the announcement, which led to a mixture of interpretations that varied according to the understanding of each press platform.
The state of confusion caused by the president’s statements didn’t stop at journalistic platforms and newspapers; Mada Masr spoke to three different sources and officials from the Supply Ministry and from Parliament and they were likewise uncertain as to the implications of the president’s statements, as each of them had a different interpretation of the statements.
By comparing Mada Masr’s report with the other reports in terms of the information included and the variety of sources that comment on the president’s statements about ration cards, you’ll figure out the value of journalism, which is looking for the diversity and multiplicity of sources, information and opinions. Mada Masr cited several official sources to convey their opinion and explain to the public what the president meant by his speech, or even monitor the state of confusion that occurred after the president’s announcement, while you find other websites that only praise or explain his announcement in a way that leads to further confusion.
* “Al-Manassa” website publishes on 26 December 26 a report that reads:
Compulsory vaccination of children: schools are forcing students “without paper”, parents circumvent the decision
In a hurry, Mayada escorted her daughter to a doctor’s clinic. The sixteen-year-old girl was not experiencing any symptoms of fatigue at all, but her mother told the doctor that she wanted a diagnosis of her daughter’s infection with the COVID-19 and a certificate confirming it.
As for Maha*, whose daughter is studying at the Helwan Secondary Hotel School, she didn’t deal with the matter as Mayada, but rather she complied with the school’s compulsory decision of conronaviurs vaccine, saying“We don’t have another choice. They will not be allowed to take the exam if they don’t receive the vaccine. This is is the school’s decision.”
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the directives were clear in one word “just act.” He added to “Al-Manassa”: We know that there are decisions issued by the government not to compel any student from the age group 12 to 18, but the focus was on high school students and technical diplomas in particular to be vaccinated in any way.”
” Al-Manassa” published an exclusive and comprehensive report, adhering to all the principles and values of journalism; as it brings all sides of the issue of COVID-19 vaccination among children in school, which gives readers an adequate dose of information about the news story. The journalist came up with more than one example to demonstrate what is happening, and then he cited a number of officials to explain the situation and the idea of compulsory vaccination and parents’ reaction to it. It is indeed an excellent, balanced, and fair report that is written in a professional format.
* “Youm7” publishes on 27 December a news report that reads:
Cairo University President: We spent 1.3 billion pounds on developing university hospitals
“The ceremonial activities of Cairo University, organized on the occasion of laying the foundation stone of the Children’s Medical Complex, have just kicked off, in the presence of…”
Dr. Mohamed Elkhosht, President of Cairo University, has reviewed the development of university hospitals during the past years, noting that the efficiency of the emergency and reception hospital has been raised, in addition to the development of the National Cancer Institute and the Farnsawy Palace Hospital, in addition to the development of Abu Al-Rish and Mansoura hospitals by nearly more than 10 units developed besides the development of outpatient clinics.
Elkhosht added that EGP 1.3 billion has been spent on developing Cairo University hospitals in all projects.
* The report carries a long story about the establishment of a medical complex for children, but it is clear that it only quoted the officials as speaking about the development of university hospitals and the sums spent on this advancement. But the official has the right to say what he wants, while the journalist’s role is to check what he says and verify it, otherwise he would turn to a propaganda trumpet only, which happened in this report. The piece turned into a promotion and propaganda report and is devoid of scrutiny and evaluation of the projects being implemented by comparing them to the money spent.
Second: Talk shows
Episodes of Tuesday, 28 December
* “Akher Al-Nahar” program – Tamer Amin – Tuesday December 21 episode
Tamer says (minutes 5 and 22 seconds): I also think that the efforts that have been exerted at the level of infrastructure restoration have borne fruit. Alexandria is ready for the winter of this year.
Then, in the 13th and 23rd minute, he adds: Look, Mr. Governor, I mean, of course, May God be with you, but this is the prettiness of Alexandria. I mean, regardless of the situation, the governor of Alexandria must be happy because in the end he is the governor of the most beautiful cities in spite of the harsh climatic conditions it may be witnessing. And in the meantime, I am sure that the efforts and planning must result in positive outcomes.
Although the governor, who was hosted by Tamer via phone, tried to explain the difficulties facing the crisis management in Alexandria, Tamer volunteered on his behalf, trying to beautify the reality and whitewash the problems that the residents of the governorate suffer from due to the deterioration of the infrastructure there. It is the first time that we see an anchor lie on his viewers while the official presents the real problems on the ground. Contrary to what Tamer said trying to mislead the public with a delusional picture, Alexandria really suffers from a lack of basic components of infrastructure given the repeated disruption of schools whenever weather fluctuations take place.
- On My Responsibility – Ahmed Mosa – Tuesday December 21 episode
Mosa says at the beginning of the episode: “Yesterday, we saw international organizations along with the US State Department and others addressing this case in Egypt. About 6 or 7 organizations have issued a joint statement condemning the trial of Alaa Abdel-Fattah and Al-Baqer, and the other one who is named “oxygen”. Why are they giving concern to these three defendants who are accused over terrorism cases, not cases pertaining to freedom of opinion and expression? They are involved in cases that have nothing to do with freedom of opinion and expression at all.”
Mosa didn’t comply with the principles of accuracy, honesty and integrity of the information he conveyed during this segment of the episode. The case over which the three activists were prosecuted is not a terrorism related case. The three were prosecuted over posts on social media, which means that it is a case of freedom of expression and not a case of terrorism, as Mosa claimed in an attempt to mislead the public and influence on the public opinion against the accused. He also took advantage of the viewer’s lack of knowledge of many of the NGOs laws to incite them against Egyptian human rights organizations and to distort their image; by referring to the issue of funding, which is legal, or else the state wouldn’t spare any effort to close these organizations in case (if is proved that they are being operated upon illegal funding).
* “Paper and pen” program – Nashaat Al-Daihi – Episode of Tuesday December 21 (from 24 minutes and 35 seconds)
“I think that Western administrations have long been using human rights as a pretext for political issues. They are using the file of human rights to politically employ it to achieve certain goals and interests. I was surprised two weeks ago at the Dutch Foreign Ministry coming out with a statement addressing the situation of human rights in Egypt from 2011 until now. The statement was followed by another similar one issued by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva and today the US State Department is expressing discontent with these court rulings (handed down against Abdel-Fattah, Baqer and Oxygen). The same thing with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, they issued statements deploring the verdicts. All these Western countries deplored the rulings of the judiciary. What do you want then? Do you want us to reverse the verdicts and abolish our judiciary and justice and give you the opportunity to judge alternatively? Those who comment on rulings of the judiciary are not an American judicial authority or a European judicial authority, but rather they are people of politics!
Al-Daihi devoted this segment of the episode to comment on the Western world’s reactions to the rulings issued against three political activists as punishment for expressing their views. But the anchorman misled his viewers as he neglected the nature of their case, which is essentially a political case related to freedom of opinion and expression that is guaranteed by the Constitution. The anchor dealt with their case as if it was a criminal case. He also referred to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as “European countries” and not human rights organizations which deem these rulings that are issued by an exceptional court as a lack of commitment on the part of Egypt to the human rights conventions it signed, and he also tried to make the viewer believe that these European parties want to abolish the Egyptian judiciary or interfere In its affairs while he is fully aware that these organizations only call for not letting any person be imprisoned for expressing his opinion, which is a fundamental constitutional right.
* “Akher Al-Nahar” program – Mohamed Al-Baz – Saturday 22nd December episode (from minute 35 and 28 seconds)
Media expert Sami Abdel Aziz, who was hosted by Al-Baz, says on the phone: The Suez Canal is the largest project in the history of Egypt to be implemented in a year. I want to tell you something that no one knows, I swear to you the inauguration ceremony and campaign of the Suez Canal didn’t cost Egypt, but rather brought it resources from international sponsors. The drilling companies and other international companies were told that (government) won’t be paying anything, and they were asked (Will write in your history something that is greater or bigger than the Suez Canal project?). They said no, so we told them (Ok, then you will have to pay money), and they actually did.”
Al-Baz didn’t adhere to accuracy or honesty, nor did he attribute the news and information to its source, as he didn’t, in his capacity as the person responsible for managing the dialogue/interview and the whole episode, verify the guest’s statements or ask him about the source of the illogical information he mentioned, especially in light of the fact that the project that the guest talked about was the main theme of a donation campaign amounted to 60 billion Egyptian pounds of the money collected from the Egyptian people. So it is not logical for any major company to accept spending on the opening ceremony of a project that the government has implemented, especially when this project is located outside the borders of the country to which the company belongs.
* “Al-Hekaya” Program – Amr Adib – episode of Friday, December 24 (from 25 minutes and 53 seconds)
Amr hosted Dr. Ibrahim El-Ashmawy, Assistant Minister of Supply, who said: It is possible that the state provides subsidies in its new budget, because it will have a negative impact on the budget deficit. Dr. Maait was talking about targeting 6.6% of the budget deficit. If I increased the amount and the value of subsidies in absolute terms, it would be forced to increase the budget deficit, and this is not in our benefit; because this will create a kind of economic distortions and will also change the credit assessment of the Egyptian state. So be sure that the state is fully aware of what it is doing in terms of scenarios to add the segments that deserve the subsidy. The system needs scrutiny and is limited to some determinants.
This segment lacked balance and objectivity in the presentation stipulated in the media honor charter. By reviewing and checking the government spending allocations in the current year’s budget, we find out that the increase in the ration support allocations- which is the main subject of the segment- reaches 3.2 billion pounds over the previous year’s budget, while the public services sector, which includes the benefits of public debt, the allocations of the Presidency and the legislative and executive councils have accounted for the largest share of the increase in expenditures, which amounted to 80.7 billion pounds over last year. However, Amr refrained from confronting the Assistant Minister with the apparent imbalance in government spending priorities and contented himself with thanking him without presenting the other point of view.
Third Print Media
- “Al-Wafd” newspaper, issue of Thursday December 23, last page
An article entitled “Pause” written by Hamdi Kouta, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al-Wafd newspapers, with a sub-title “Naive Western Transgressions”.
In the article, Kouta criticizes the statement of the German government which demands the release of the three prisoners of conscience “Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Muhammad Al-Baqer, and Muhammad Oxygen”. He says: “I wonder: what is the motive behind the German government’s demand to mention certain names- among many others- and demand their release? And does it do the same thing with the German judiciary in such cases? These are questions that await answers. Perhaps it may reveal to us the malicious intentions of this demand and how the German government deals with German judges.
Hamdi Kouta’s article comes as part of a wide campaign in the Egyptian media, launched on the same day, against the criticism that accompanied the unjust ruling against handed down blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer and YouTuber Mohamed Oxygen over an opinion case. The writer asked a question that indicates his lack of knowledge and ignorance, and that contains false information that the German government and others European parties are only concerned with the three activists, while there are indeed many appeals and demands calling for the release of many prisoners of conscience- and the aforementioned three are among them- but the demands are not limited to them.
* “Al-Akhbar” newspaper, issue of Monday 27 December, last page
Article entitled “This is Egypt… Upper Egypt for the first time”, by Karam Gabr
The writer talks about his trip to Upper Egypt for being part of the President’s convoy to inaugurate some projects there, saying: “The wide roads here are paved according to the global systems in terms of multiple paths and the pavement that resembles silk, as if we are walking on the roads of one of the major global cities.”
The writer, who is the head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, deliberately ignored the severe suffering and bad condition of the road conditions and infrastructure in Upper Egypt. For example, the Upper Egypt road had been closed for a year, and the parallel road (The agricultural road from Helwan to Minya) whose condition is very bad, hasn’t yet been repaired. The only road that is left is the West Nile road, which forces people to travel on a long-distance road trip. The article hence comes as a promotion of a wrong situation, either out of the writer’s ignorance or deliberate intention to deceive readers, turning blind eye to the suffering citizens experience while traveling to Upper Egypt because of the broken and the very long- distance roads.
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.