Inaccurate media coverage violates citizen’s right to knowledge and allows spread of lies

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The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) expresses its deep condemnation of the inaccuracy and cover up by all media channels, both visual and auditory, of the truths regarding this extremely critical moment in Egypt, especially concerning the coverage of demonstrators supporting ousted president “Mohamed Morsi” as well as of clashes between them and their opponents in Cairo and other governorates.

AFTE researchers noticed the disproportionately inefficient news coverage in general throughout last week in comparison to the space and time allocated to opinion and talk shows and programs. This became especially evident in the coverage by private channels and newspapers of the Raba’a El Adaweyaa sit in and the clashes taking place at el Nahda square, Abdelmoneim Riad square, El Manial as well as Sidi Geber in Alexandria. Notable also is the extremely scarce coverage of events taking place in the governorate of North Sinai, as well as Delta and Upper Egypt governorates, where we received news from social media networks of clashes in different places between supporters and opponents of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, in the absence of accurate news coverage of their extent and nature as well as consequences. In addition detailed news was also lacking regarding the burring of houses and worship places of Copts in several governorates.

AFTE believes that this media blackout – whether intentional or not – is a clear violation of Egyptian citizens’ right to knowledge in addition of being a clear violation of the right of Morsi supporters of self expression to all other sectors of society. This blackout becomes even more dangerous considering the critical nature of this phase in Egypt. AFTE also warns that the withholding of news and information, whether by the state or media channels opens the door for spread of rumors and false news which could further exacerbate the current crisis.

In addition to the previously mentioned lack of professionalism, most media channels have not been accurate regarding the news they broadcast, where news are broadcasted only to be refuted few hours later such as the news spread by most media channels concerning the arrest of some Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including the Supreme Guide of the MB Mohamed Badie, which was spread through all media channels, foremost state media, including Egyptian TV and radio. Few hours later the same channels had to negate the news after the Supreme Guide appeared on the platform in Raba’a El Adaweyya, causing a state of tension and confusion which added to the confusion of the country as a whole. Spreading this kind of false news weakens confidence in the reliability of media channels and opens opportunities for spread of rumors.

This performance throws shadows of doubt over the reasons behind it and whether it is due to decline in professional skills and media inability of covering the rapidly changing events or whether it is, one way or the other, a result of specific orders by sovereign authorities regarding news coverage at this critical time.

Finally, AFTE appeals to all media channels to disclose the reasons for this media blackout and inaccuracy which could ultimately result in harming the safety of society and citizens, as well as loss of lives in view of the prevalent popular anger which provides a climate that is conducive to possible acts of violence. AFTE also demands that media channels remain honest to their responsibility of providing accurate and detailed information to Egyptians respecting their right to knowledge. Accuracy and truths are the only safeguards against rumors and increased congestion threatening the safety of citizens.


محتوى المدونة منشور برخصة المشاع الإبداعي نَسب المُصنَّف 4.0