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Egypt’s one-sided media coverage of the ‘Day of Rage’

August 20, 2013

By Mehdi Chebil

 

© Mehdi Chebil/FRANCE 24

© Mehdi Chebil/FRANCE 24

The vast majority of Egypt’s media are portraying supporters of ousted president and prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi as terrorists wholly lacking in political legitimacy.

Egyptians were given a broadly one-sided view of the week’s bloody events on their television screens Saturday.

Private TV channel Al-Nahar showed images of the stand-off between supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi and security forces at the al-Fath mosque under the banner, “Egypt Fights Terrorism”.

“Why are they letting them out?” asked a Cairo restaurant owner as the TV showed protesters loyal to the deposed Islamist leader being ushered past a mob of angry locals. “The Muslim Brotherhood’s people are now free to cause chaos and smash shops somewhere else.”

The day after the Brotherhood’s call for a “Day of Rage” protest, that saw 173 people killed in clashes with the police and army, most of the country’s newspapers reported events as a battle against the “terrorist” Islamist movement.

“Most Egyptian journalists feel that they have to take a side,” said Ehab el-Zelaky, head of digital media at privately-owned daily newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm.

“Journalists here would under any other circumstance try to be balanced, to tell both sides of the story. But considering what is happening to this country, many of them see it as their duty to support the state in its war against the Muslim Brotherhood.”

This position is plain to see in the majority of the country’s newspapers (see slideshow below).

“Egypt suffers the fire of the Muslim Brotherhood,” blares daily Al-Akhbar, above pictures of burning buildings, masked gunmen and a bearded (implying Islamist) man holding a foreign passport.

‘Friday of Terrorism’

The tone is the same in weekly pro-military Al-Youm al-Sabeh paper, which slams “the crimes of the Muslim Brotherhood on the ‘Friday of Terrorism’”, above images glorifying the head of Egypt’s military General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Absent was any comment on the 20,000 – largely peaceful – protesters who turned out on Friday to voice their anger at the massacre of hundreds of pro-Morsi campaigners killed when security forces moved to clear their sit-in protest two days earlier. Read more at France 24.

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