The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Supplementing Violence with Fruad

This week's al-Ahram Weekly- a paper the state owns and allows to come out on time - has a smattering of articles following up the referendum. Naturally, the violence is weakly covered and there is only a small article on last Wednesday "protest in black".

I encourage all of the Arabist's readers to review the articles to see how electoral fraud was at work during the referendum (in addition the use of thuggery, hired by people connected to the ruling party and allowed to operate by the security services).

For example, Mona al-Nahass notes that "Only the 329 main polling stations were under judicial supervision." That is 329 main polling stations out of a total of 54,000 lower stations, according to presidential spokes-person Sulayman Awwad. That accounts for .0061-percent of the polling stations. Rather than emphasizing the potential fraud, the Weekly plays it safe by entitling the article "Opposition cries foul".

In another article, "The only safe path," the reporter again points to potential voter fraud:

Opposition newspapers reported a host of irregularities, with a number of civil and human rights organisations joining the fray. The Independent Egyptian Committee for Election Monitoring (IECEM) claimed members had monitored 26 per cent of polling stations.
"These," they reported, "were characterised by low turnout and the absence of judicial supervision."
Mohamed Ragab, spokesman for the NDP majority on the Shura Council, insists, however, that "the figures, as announced by the Interior Ministry, are realistic."

In the article that specifically deals with the black protest on Wednesday the 1st, Jailan Halawi shows Ahram's editorial policy at its best. In her lead she writes:

Yesterday members of the Press Syndicate and the Bar Association joined several non-governmental organisations, led by an ad hoc group of women calling itself the Egyptian Mothers' Union, to protest the series of violent assaults against women, allegedly by sympathisers of the ruling National Democratic Party, that marred Wednesday's referendum on amending Article 76 of the constitution.
Eight journalists and two lawyers were among the most seriously injured in the assaults which activists claim amount to an attempt to systematically intimidate women from exercising their right to protest.

My Emphasis Added

Before the comments start pointing out the obvious - that this is a state-owned paper and what do I expect - I thought it was worth recording the discrepancy for those not reading the Weekly online.

It is telling that a little bit of electoral fraud can be acceptably received by al-Ahram's editors when reported in the state-press while the violence is not.

I'm sure when Bush reads about the electoral fraud, he is going to be very very very not upset.