What the media scene in our dear Egypt has witnessed over the last year has not been witnessed by the strongest democracies in the world; those who believe in freedom of speech, sanctify freedom of thought, and have built their countries on the foundations of such freedoms. Conversely, however, they have also laid the foundations of law making it a responsible freedom that is held highly accountable if it missteps, spreads false or fabricated information, or exposes the private lives of people, which may lead to it being shut down or going bankrupt.
However, in Egypt, the situation is quite different. Owners of private TV stations and newspapers – businessmen of the former regime – have adopted the policy of "Joseph Goebbels", Minister of Nazi propaganda during Hitler's reign, which was lying. His saying was "Lie, lie, lie until people believe in you, then lie, lie, lie until you believe yourself." Another one of his sayings was "Give me media with no conscience; I will give you people who are unconscious."
Egyptian media moguls have been following the same approach and have been inspired by "Goebbels" for over a year. This became particularly evident after it became apparent to everyone how powerful and popular the Islamic political movement is in Egypt, especially the Muslim Brotherhood which is deeply rooted in Egypt's soil. Their history in Egypt makes it impossible to eliminate them by any means, not even by the incendiary machine called the media, which has launched fierce media attacks against them, using all types of lethal weaponry. They ranged from verbal attacks and insinuations never before heard in the media, to deception, deceit, and fraud by fabricating false stories and calling it strategic analysis.
An example of this was the vicious story in which the media claimed the Suez Canal had been sold. Other stories have claimed that Egyptian land in the Sinai was been relinquished for Palestinian settlements, or that Egypt is ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood's Guidance Office and that the Deputy Supreme Guide, Khairat El-Shater, is running the country from behind the scenes. El-Shater was turned into an infamous legend in order to tarnish his image along with that of the Muslim Brotherhood so as to generate horror, fear, and hatred in the hearts of Egyptians by spreading rumours no sane person would believe or even utter; except, of course, for a traitor, a sick person, or at best, an ignorant person.
They then introduced petty, spiteful nobodies who have sold their souls to the devil and made stars out of them giving them titles such as strategic specialist, constitutional expert, political analyst, an expert in so and so, revolutionary activist, etc. With the help of corrupt satellite stations and a discredited media, these people have became the elites of Egyptian society and appointed themselves guardians of the Egyptian people and given themselves the right to speak in their name. The Egyptian people are innocent of all the crimes that haunt them day and night.
This immoral and unprofessional media only recognizes Goebbels' charter which brought defeat and destruction to Germany and divided it into two states. Do the corrupt media owners really want to push Egypt to that miserable fate, just because of their hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has grown to be greater than their love for their country?
Every time I count on the awakening of their conscience at a defining moment for the country, during which the people need to unite in order to get through it, I find myself mistaken and let down by the fact that they create more crises, fuel discord among the people, pit groups against each other to ignite more fires, and work on embedding the idea of polarization in society, which was originated by their corrupt media.
After the adoption of the constitution and the failure of their media campaign on which they spent billions, and having used every means of fraud and falsification to hinder its completion and presentation into the light, the detestable machine resorted to inciting the people to reject it. However, the people disappointed it and were victorious with their free will. I do not deny that some were influenced by them and were unable to differentiate between the worthless and the precious stone. Their image is blurred, but I hope that they will see the light soon and they will be able to see things clearly, away from all shady influences. Myself and others imagined that after the battle over the constitution was over, these wars would be over, or we would at least reach a truce in order for the people to catch their breath, but we were wrong. It became clear that these were all naïve illusions or dreams. It became evident that they were determined to continue such media wars indefinitely.
It was also apparent that the satellite channels and private newspapers are all on the same page together. They have had prior preparation, and are ready to engage a new and fiercer battle than before. The hellish machine they own only generates depressing ideas and they have resorted to playing on the Egyptian economy as it immediately impacts on the ordinary citizen. They launched what they called "the bankruptcy of Egypt" and raised terror and panic amongst Egyptians. They spread the word that the country won't be able to pay the salaries of employees; that deposits in the bank were at risk, which made some rush to withdraw their deposits; that prices would be raised; that there would be currency floatation; that subsidisation would be cut off to implement the terms of the World Bank, etc. Then they promoted what they called "revolution of the hungry" without taking into consideration that a society with such social solidarity, such as the Egyptian society, cannot, under any circumstance, be subject to such so-called revolutions.
Wake up! Stop this madness that is harming the country and people. Stop using your ill-gotten money, which you stole from the people, to destroy and demolish the country. We must take a firm and resolute stand against the corrupt media and those who support it through the law. Therefore, I call for the immediate formation of the National Media Council ordered by the constitution, in order for things to be controlled and to prevent any further escalation that will lead to total destruction.
*The author is an Egyptian writer and member of the National Council for Human Rights
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.