Thursday, August 22, 2013

Egypt's Media Openly Embrace Political Bias

Political Reports Stemming From Egypt Are Displaying A clear Lack Of Objectivity.

"A Media War" is how Sarah Hartmann - head of the EU-Middle East Forum, a program run by the German Council on Foreign Relations - describes the current press situation in Egypt. 
Since the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian army in early July, Egypt's mass media have been siding with the military and opposing the Muslim Brotherhood.
Journalists who report positively on pro-Morsi demonstrations are being put under pressure. Several arrests have taken place.
A History Of Biased Reporting

According to Berlin-based political scientist Hamadi El-Aouni, there is a tradition in Egypt of the government influencing media reports. "Following the revolution in 1954, the Egyptian state under President Gamal Abdel Nasser decided that the media should play a strategic role," he told DW.

The Doha Centre for Media Freedom provides several examples of this. According to its observations, during last year's presidential election many Egyptian newspapers reported on voters in foreign countries. 

They drew a lot of attention to small groups of Egyptian expatriates who were opposed to Morsi. At the same time, large groups of pro-Morsi Egyptians abroad were mostly ignored, creating a skewed picture of the situation for Egyptians at home.

In addition to this, certain formulations and images were deliberately chosen to cover up some facts. All this resulted in misleading and manipulated reporting.

According to El-Aouni, this form of journalism is still going strong. "Reporting in Egypt means serving as a mouthpiece of the politicians, state and government," he said.

No Voice For Morsi Supporters

The millions that support Morsi are currently not being given a say in Egyptian media. There is also little mention of the number of casualties resulting from the clearing of the pro-Morsi protest camp by the security forces.
International Arabic-language broadcasters are providing a counterweight - among them Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle and BBC Arabic. Of these, Qatar-based Al Jazeera has the biggest viewer base in Egypt. 

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