Believing the Egyptian Media
With a smile of surprise, a respectable, non-veiled, decently dressed lady walked towards me, in her lovely fifties’ beauty and the dark skin of a typical Egyptian mother. She stopped in front of me and asked, "Sir, are you such-and-such?"
“Yes,” I replied.
“Didn’t you go to Qatar a week ago? And so fled from the case against you?” she inquired.
“Who said that?” I asked her.
“So-and-so, the presenter on so-and-so channel, and such-and-such, the presenter on such-and-such channel,” she answered.
“But these people don’t deserve you calling them presenters at all, madam,” I told her, “They’re just informants hired by security bodies to perform a specified role. Their qualification is lying, not specializing in the profession.”
“You mean you didn’t travel?” she asked me.
“Madam, I’m standing here in front of you, in my flesh and blood. Those very same presenters and these same channels had been having a field day on account of a travel ban against me a few days earlier,” I reasoned with her, “so how could I travel when I’m banned from traveling in the first place?”
“Yes, that’s right, how?” the lady wondered.
“How? By lying!”
After some ordeal, the conversation ended. The poor lady could not believe that there existed people who would fabricate events and false stories so blatantly.
The truth is that we are living in the filthiest, vilest era for the media. The vast majority of "stars" of this filthy era had obtained their licenses to practice the profession during the period of deposed Mubarak’s rule. Their qualifications are that they are submissive and guided, have no conscience, see which way the wind is blowing, know which side their bread is buttered, and all their faculties are directed toward pleasing the ruler and accumulating wealth.
Pity for Egyptian Viewers! Millions of Egyptians today are like this lady who ran into me: they do not imagine that lying could reach such a horrific degree. I am not defending here any faction, group or political party, but rather I am defending a sacred profession in which I have worked. God is my witness I would never have imagined that the majority of those practicing this profession would sink to such an unbelievable degree of depravity. They now let political rivalry and orders from sovereign bodies permit them to incite people to kill their neighbors, their fellow townspeople and their brothers in the nation. They now are not ashamed of accusing a duck of conspiring with other nations, accusing a puppet toy of espionage, and accusing a disabled person in a wheelchair of terrorism.
What they do today will have an impact on the future of this profession for many years to come. After the fall of this regime and people’s discovery of the amount of lying and fraud that took place, they will doubt everyone who appears on screen. Media work will become a stigma to anyone who works in the field.
As for those who try to do right by the people, or try to remember the word "professionalism" or the value of honesty, their fate is to get a kick in the teeth, as was the case with a reporter of an Egyptian channel. He was beaten and insulted by the police, and all the channel owner did was to say that they should “cooperate" with the police!
Journalists observing professionalism today are worth zilch. Egypt has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries in terms of risks to journalists on the job in media. We have deservedly earned third place in the ranking of deadliest nations for journalists. This is all happening and nobody cares, while media persons of the state security are spreading their poisons day and night.
The Egyptian media scandal has become the talk of the whole world. In a statement issued a few days ago, European Parliament members called for an immediate end to all acts of violence, harassment or intimidation against political opponents, journalists and civil society representatives, and urged the Egyptian government to secure that they work freely. Last week, the United States and Britain criticized the campaigns launched by Egyptian authorities against their opponents and journalists, with the aim to quash freedom of expression. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, condemned the arrest and prosecution of journalists, and viewed it as a blow to freedom of expression.
So, what was the response of the people in power in Egypt?
The spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry responded with a lecture on independence of our nation and the fight against terrorism!
We do not recall independence of national decision except at the time of assault on citizens or on freedoms.
We do not recall independence of national decision except at the time of embezzling of public money and exporting of our national wealth dirt cheap.
We do not recall independence of national decision except at the time of conspiring against the independence of this nation.
I would have liked to appeal to the media to try to control this epidemic that is sweeping TV screens and newspapers, but that would be absurd since they are the ones that made up this lying. Although—truth be told—they were not the decision-makers in launching vicious campaigns against the honest people of this nation, they did carry out the orders issued and did so in the most despicable way.
To informants hiding behind TV screens, the day of reckoning is near. God will reveal the right and people will find out the truth about your lying and deceit. You will be held accountable for blood that was shed because of you, for honors violated with your justification, and freedoms repressed with your blessing.
Long live Egypt for Egyptians and by Egyptians.
*Link to original article by AbdulRahman Yusuf “Al-lathina Yosadequon al-Ilam al_Masry” published on the Arabi21 site on February, 15, 2014: http://arabi21.com/a-2/a-299/727966-a