When a government stipulates that a television channel has to be the first item on the agenda for possible reconciliation talks between countries, then you know that the administration in question must be very fragile indeed. It must be based on false foundations for a media outlet to be able to shake it. In Egypt’s case, that government must be the coup regime that seized power and is afraid of accountability and retribution.
Yes, Al-Sisi’s government has made it a condition for the return of normal relations between Egypt and Qatar for Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr (Egypt Live) to be shut down. Qatar offered Al-Jazeera as a sacrificial lamb to grow closer to Al-Sisi. The Gulf State has sacrificed a successful media outlet watched by millions around the world; a television station ranked as number one in the Arab world due to its unique press coverage, including leaked recordings of Al-Sisi henchmen. The station had more recordings ready to be broadcast, but the decision to shut it down has put an end to that.
What has Qatar got in return for the priceless gift it has presented to Al-Sisi? No one knows, since there is no transparency in any of these deals, and when transparency is absent, rumour and speculation spread. One rumour is that the dismissal of intelligence chief Mohammed Tuhami was a condition set by Qatar due to his involvement in the rabid campaign carried out by the coup’s media outlets against the government in Doha. Some also claim that Saudi Arabia put pressure on Qatar, but we do not know what that could mean, even though much of Qatar’s political weight stems from Al-Jazeera.
Whatever the real reasons behind the closure of Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, it wasn’t the TV station that started the revolution; it was, though, a trusted broadcaster of revolutionary events which worked professionally to international media standards. Its respected journalists reported both sides of the story and covered events with complete neutrality. The likes of Zein Tawfik, Ahmed Taha and Ayman Azzam spring to mind, among many others. We must thank them all for their firm positions which remained unfazed, especially their coverage of the coup. That they have preferred to shut down the station rather than change their anti-coup policies speaks volumes for their integrity.
Let Al-Sisi’s media outlets rejoice; they are run by an ignorant bunch of people who claim to be journalists but are in fact liars and frauds who have turned the Egyptian media into a circus, selling their souls and stories to the highest bidder. They have falsified the facts, as revealed by Al-Jazeera usually, and numbed the minds of the people so that they overlook the painful truth that Egypt is in a sharp political and economic decline under this fascist military rule. The media looks the other way as Egypt’s leaders rule with an iron fist, subjugating the people, insulting them and torturing them in police stations and prisons, while killing their children and claiming that they are terrorists.
Human beings often run away from the mirror that reflects the truth; indeed, they usually break it. Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr was that truthful mirror so they have broken it. However, the revolution against this regime will not break nor will the spirit of the rebels. The demonstrations will not stop due to the absence of Al-Jazeera’s cameras. “Allah has full power over His affairs; though most people do not know.”
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.