Once again fellow hacks in various sections of British media were quick to report rumours and gossip on streets of cairo and Egyptian social media as factual news, namely a false claim that the Egyptian government banned or outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood. This led to Egyptian government quickly denying media nonsense. Below are the full details of the judicial review, its recommendation and the background to who asked for the review, which was a group of Egyptian MPs, activists, women groups and others who have nothing to do withe the government. Several court case to challenge the MB charitable status were filed some 14 months before June 30 movement that ousted them from power with help from the army and both Muslim Church ( Azhar) and Christian Church ( coptic) as well as all other political parties, trends, NGOs and trade unions ina national council meetings 1-3 July 2013 . Below are the details.
Whether it was a deliberate fabrication (given the guardian ideological stance) or laziness by the Guardian hackette, Lisa O’Carroll; the story on an Egyptian court ruling on some TV channels was factually inaccurate, contains errors and leaves out vital information which misleads readers and can cause violent reaction on the ground in Egypt.
Once Fleet Street greatest paper on accuracy and checking facts thoroughly, the Daily Telegraph, unfortunately following the Guardian and the BBC in overlooking facts reporting rumours or views based on second-guessing as factual news.
Take today’s telegraphs report from their Cairo stringer, free-lance hackette Lousia Loveluck. entitled “Egypt’s Islamist crackdown intensifies” . The report contains some factual errors which would fail A level media study students.
Not only our news organisations, Broadcast and Fleet Street ( and the American ones across the pond) covering Egypt failed to do any research on Muslim Brotherhood history of and association with terrorism, they also omit, from their copy or videos, historic facts, personalities and information vital to the narrative thus misleading British listeners, viewers and readers.
By constructing false and untrue narrative of the Egyptian Crisis the BBC, followed by other liberal left media, then copied by nearly all, is harming long-term British interests in Egypt and the Middle East region, especially with our Foreign Secretary William Hague unwisely following a foolish European course threatening Egypt while Cairo influential and rich Gulf allies led by Saudi Arabia have already warned the European Union against such folly. It seems that BBC led other left-wing/liberal media in setting the agenda to convince the British chattering classes and the larger political establishment of a false narrative of the crisis in Egypt. A false narrative and analysis which is not only misleading and doesn’t reflect reality on the ground, but also causing anger and resentment among the vast majority of Egyptians and their interim government, which, alongside the military, enjoys huge public support. Even the perception of policy that Egyptians might interpret as racist, demeaning or hurts their pride, poses a danger to our long term interests in Egypt and in the Arab world, especially UK Britain economic interests in the important markets of the Gulf and security interest in the Middle East region that could be damaged beyond repair.
Looks like the Independent is heading for a costly and damaging liable case about to be launched by two, and possible three Egyptian publishers and media companies, unless the Inde prints a humiliating apology and retraction, although the injured party, being a publisher and media savvy himself, tells me he is adamant the apology printed to the same space of the offending piece.
I try to monitor UK media reporting on Egypt ( since we have contacts and correspondents there and can check facts on the ground with near 100% accuracy) to see whether correspondents , analysts or columnists stick to the traditional fleet street criteria ( ie PPC Press Complaints Council Editors Code of Practice ) ; the Of-Com Broadcasting code ;& the BBC Editorial Guidelines ; the NUJ ( national Union of Journalists) Code of Conduct and last but not least the obvious commonsense practice of sticking to facts, sourcing information, abiding by laws, and making a clear distinction ( easily noticeable and understood by readers/viewers/listeners) between hard facts, and opinion, analysis or guess. In the light of such criterion I will try to highlight shortcomings or errors by British media. I hope fellow hacks and hackettes are not offended but try to see it as an extension or further explanation to what might have been overlooked in the rush to meet deadlines.
Linda Heard is an Alexandria based British author, columnist, and biographer, she has also been a commentator and journalist, who lived in Egypt for many years, and Alexandria is her home. Mrs Heard has much better understanding of Egypt and the situation far better than her own president and congressmen. She is fed-up of people presenting ideas and solutions to Egypt current ‘ crisis’ from a total ignorance stand. One particular column was the last straw for her. I hope she accepts my apology as I mistakenly thought she was American, I hope I didn’t cause any offence. Here is the story with those suggesting inclusive solution with Muslim Brothers as they stand with their current ideology..
The Daily Telegraph is normally better informed about the Middle East and Africa than other Fleet street papers, especially the leftwing ones like the Independent or Guardian who’s ideology blind them to basic facts on the ground. What is shocking about today ( Monday 29 July) Telegraph leader on Egypt it got it wrong, misleading, message is meaningless and worst of all contains factual errors and inaccurate facts.
When general Abd-el-Fatah el-Sisi, Egypt’s Deputy Prime Minister for National Security and Secretary of Defence called upon Egyptian people to to rally under banner ” No to Terrorism” and to give a popular mandate to ” state institutions” to combat terrorism, many questioned his motives since he did not need such mandate nor do state institutions. It is the duty of the army, police and other security agencies to do just exactly that , not as a favor or by popular mandate. It was the job they are paid to do and have been trained for.