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Press eject: Did ‘harsh’ Egyptian media help topple Mursi?

July 4, 2013

By Matt J. Duffy

Anti-Mursi, or pro-Muslim Brotherhood? Critics say the media is divided. (Al Arabiya)

Anti-Mursi, or pro-Muslim Brotherhood? Critics say the media is divided. (Al Arabiya)

Following the dramatic overthrow of Mohammad Mursi, some experts question whether the Egyptian news media treated him fairly – or whether biased coverage contributed to his ousting as president
.
Most observers agree that Mursi received vicious coverage from some media outlets in Egypt.

Dr. Sahar Khamis, a communications professor at the University of Maryland, said she’s no Mursi supporter and noted he had “many shortcomings.”
“But, I think he’s not been treated fairly,” she said. “Many Egyptian media outlets have treated him too harshly.”

She said that anti-Mursi diatribes on several political talk shows such as those on ONtv or CBC essentially mobilized the June 30 protests.
Khamis said it was “ironic” that many news shows criticized Mursi as a dictator like ousted President Hosni Mubarak. She said that many statements on news programs about Mursi would have never been tolerated under Mubarak.

But other observers noted that any anti-Mursi media tirades merely balanced the vitriol from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Dr. Adel Iskandar, a Georgetown professor and author of “Egypt in Flux,” said no fair media exists in Egypt.
“Partisanship prevails across the spectrum of state and private media,” Iskandar said.

He said that news programs on Egyptian state television and the Muslim Brotherhood channels offered their own warped perspectives. At the same time anti-government rhetoric from private media channels are “garnering huge audiences and galvanizing the public.”

Over the past few days, Iskandar said, the pro-Mursi media have turned toward anti-sectarian messages to help ally support.
Iskandar made clear that he saw incitement on both sides. For instance, on the anti-Mursi side, some media outlets claimed the president is no longer legitimate so no one “should listen to his barking.”

Meanwhile, on the pro-Muslim Brotherhood side, some media outlets would call opposition members “pagans, Christians, rapists (or) terrorists.”
Media outlets such as CBC, Tahrir, ONtv and El-Balad are viewed as being anti-Mursi. At least three pro-Muslim Brotherhood stations – Misr 25, al-Naas and al-Hafez TV – were reportedly suspended after the military decision to remove Mursi from power.

Dr. Mohamad Elmasry, a professor of journalism at the American University of Cairo, said many press outlets – including independent newspapers Al-Yawm Al-Saba’, Al-Fagr, and Al-Dostoor – were particularly unforgiving of Mursi. He noted that pro-Mubarak media tycoons owned these outlets, as well television channels such as Dream, An-Nahar, ONtv, Tahrir, and CBC. Read the rest of the story at Al Arabiya.

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From → Analysis, News

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