The Arabist podcast is back after a long summer break, hosted by regulars Ursula Lindsey and Ashraf Khalil and featuring Lina Attalah, editor of Mada Masr. We discuss terrorism and military operations in the Sinai peninsula; the Egyptian media's cheering of the army; and the shortcomings of Egypt's new constitution.
A good video by a new group working on exposing lies in the media. The coverage of the last 2 weeks has been mind-boggling, but as this reminds us, there has been an alternate reality created alongside every single major clash and massacre (and the uprising itself). Khalik Misadaq roughly translates as "Go ahead and believe.." or "Make yourself believe.."
Nour The Intern was assigned the task of monitoring Egypt’s rambunctious talk shows for an evening. This is her report.
After watching four consecutive hours of TV talk shows, followed by six hours online watching the talk shows I missed while watching TV – all telling me exactly how much I love and trust the army (a.k.a. The People's Army, The Patriotic Army and The Great Egyptian Army) whose generals and their predecessors and ancestors I ought to be writing a thank-you letter for – I was basking in the knowledge that helped my people save Egypt from terrorism and I wanted to buy a villa in Mountain View so I, too, could finally enjoy a quiet picnic with my wife.
What’s more baffling than my forgetting my financial status and my sexual orientation is the continuation of debate about whether or not there was such a thing as secular media bias, as if the tears of joy, the singing, the woo-hoos and the flag-waving that took place on-air moments after Morsi’s removal didn’t give anything away.Read More
al-Ahram: "Egypt abandoned to fear"
al-Akhbar: "Egypt on fire"
al-Gomhoureya: "The longest day in the history of Egypt"
Rose al-Youssef: "The people wants to decide its own fate"
Private press (mostly anti-Morsi):
al-Masri al-Youm: "Revolutionaries to Morsi: one year was enough"
al-Shorouk al-Jadid: "30 June: Egypt delivered to its fate"
Youm al-Saba3e: "Red card for the president: 22 million signatures for Tamarrod"
al-Destour: "Today is the end of Morsi and of his gang"
What started out as a blurb on the Xinhua news site this week on the smuggling of KFC for US$30 an order into Gaza via Egypt - a tunnel trek that can take between 3 and 7 hours - has gone viral, prompting several other outlets to send correspondents into Gaza to report on the Al Yamama delivery company’s entrepreneurial niche. The tunnels have been used to deliver everything from rockets and rebar to TVs and fiancées - up to 30% of all the strip’s imports come through them, says Reuters - so fast food is not a stretch, even at the prices quoted.
Unfortunately, most social media responses to it have focused on the novelty at the expense of the context, even though the two fullest accounts I have read, from the NYTand Christian Science Monitor, do address the environment of the Israeli blockade and the tunnel economy that the Egyptians have been cracking down on so hard these days to try and interdict Sinai arms smuggling.Read More
There are several starting points for discussing the Israeli strikes in Syria of the past week: to what extent the operation will affect US policy, or how much the Israeli action is really directed at the Iranian nuclear program.Read More
I used to joke that Egyptians have their own reality distortion field, which once entered can lead you to believe that their country is center of the universe and where black is white, the patently untrue is brandied as incontrovertible fact, and a person will assure you of one thing when its opposite is plain to see in front of your very eyes.
In the current media scene, the Egyptian reality distortion field has multiplied into (at least) two views of reality: one in which the Muslim Brotherhood is a savior that will guide the country to a Renaissance and Mohammed Morsi is geopolitical genius; another in which an Iranian-Israeli-American plot to install the Brotherhood threatens to unravel the country. The latter discourse is more shrill and insane, perhaps due to the fact that Islamists control a small minority of the print media in the country, that their numerous satellite channels have less compelling non-religious programming, and that their normal discourse is bizarre and nasty enough for the propaganda to be relatively tame. The two worlds co-exist and occasionally collide, a bit like the sci-fi show Fringe.Read More
Egypt Independent, an excellent publication we have grown to rely on and have written about before, has been shut down by its parent company, Al Masry Al Youm, and its new CEO, Abdel Moneim Said. (Mr. Said was a member the NDP Policies Secretariat and one of the brains behind the Gamal Mubarak project; he became CEO of state flagship Al Ahram in the last year before Mubarak's ouster. The last time I interviewed him, he was facing an insurrection from some of his own journalists and was soon to lose his job for his support of the Mubarak regime -- here is an old column of his defending the fraudulent 2010 parliamentary elections).
While this is a difficult economic climate for the press and while Egypt Independent may very well have been running deficits, the Al Masry Al Youm administration seems to have been very uninterested in the many different proposals to keep the online version, at least, running, until new investors could be found. In fact it's not clear if the journalists who have put in four years of hard work will have any access to the name and archive they built. And they were not allowed to print a final, 50th edition of the paper that reflected critically on its own history, experience, and relationship with its mother company.
The team at Egypt Independent is regrouping and hopes to launch a new publication as soon as possible. Make sure to get your subscription money back form Al Masry Al Youm (call 16533) so we can give it to them instead when they're ready. And you can follow them on Facebook for updates.
In a media landscape that is extremely polarized -- where different political and business interests support media outlets as a way to further their agendas -- Egypt Independent was that rarity, a professional independent outlet that asked uncomfortable questions.
But what's happened to them -- and I really encourage you to read their final issue, which delves into all the challenges facing independent media in Egypt today -- is not unique. The Daily News Egypt closed earlier this year, only to open under new (and, to believe this recent article, troubling) management. Al Ahram Online's beloved editor, Hany Shukrallah, was sacked recently. All this at a time when Egypt needs unbiased and ground-breaking local coverage more than ever.