Creating new perspectives since 2009

Egyptians use TV remote control to search for news

January 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Despite the internet age and the global village, as well as Facebook and Twitter, it is hard to know exactly what is happening in Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda Squares in Egypt. Everyone has a horrific tale to tell. Thanks to the closure of the opposition media by the military-backed interim regime in Cairo, the people of Egypt are having to use their remote controls to find foreign stations which let them know what is happening in their own country. Stations such as Al-Yarmouk, Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa are suddenly Egypt’s channels of choice.

We have to go back to the post-Camp David days in the seventies to find the last time that such mass media migration took place. It was also a period when many journalists and writers opposed to the treaty with Israel left Egypt because there was no media able to give them the space to express their opinions.

Forty years later, a news blackout is back, and the media has to follow one script and one script only. All of this is accompanied by silence from the so-called liberals, and indifference from former revolutionaries who know that rallies of 20 people have been covered as if they were mass demonstrations.

TV stations which really should know better have accepted that they will only see and report what they are told to see and report; they must not go beyond their planned and limited role.

In the modern media age it is surely a human right to be able to seek and find knowledge. The people of Egypt have the right to know what is going on in their country. We need to know who is doing what to whom, and what the casualty figures are. We need to know.

It is shameful that a country which fought a revolution for freedom and human dignity should be reduced to such media culpability in the suppression of cherished freedoms. That, though, is the situation in Egypt today after the coup against President Morsi, against freedom and against democracy.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.