Egypt’s media must undergo its own revolution

Had the following published over at Comment Is Free:

Media commands used to come from the ministry of information. Now, they come almost exclusively from the military

As Egypt’s deeply flawed parliamentary elections approach and the revolution struggles to maintain momentum, the battle over the media – and TV in particular – is of great importance. In a country with an illiteracy rate of 40%, television is the main and most trusted source of news. This is not lost on Egypt’s activists, who are busy looking for ways to reach those outside the informed and critical Twitter/Facebook circles that have been the central means of spreading dissent so far.

Alaa Abd El Fatah, the prominent blogger who is currently imprisoned, was among a group of activists hoping to set up a nonprofit broadcaster in Egypt. Such a channel would still be vulnerable to direct military intervention (troops have entered TV studios on at least three occasions, and in the case of al-Jazeera Mubasher they seized equipment andforced the channel off air). It would, however, prevent the military rulers and other establishment figures leaning on a single owner or group of owners to control the channel’s coverage.

That practice – in some ways more insidious than outright censorship – is said to be rife. The activists are not alone in making this accusation; prominent journalist Yosri Foda recently cancelled his show Akher Kallam (“The Last Word”) saying that if he couldn’t tell the truth, he would say nothing at all. Unfortunately, such journalistic integrity is far from universal in the Egyptian media. More common is what Foda described as “cheap and propaganda-style journalism”. The most extreme form of this is to be found in the government media which have made themselves accomplices in state terror…

read the rest here.

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About Austin G. Mackell

I am a freelance journalist who has worked for a variety of corporate and community outlets from my hometown of Sydney and from the Middle East, including from Lebanon during Israels 2006 invasion and from Iran during the tumultuous presidential elections there in 2009. I have recently moved to Cairo to watch the revolutions in Arab world unfold.
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