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.
In Todays Guardian by their cairo hack headlined ” Egypt’s ousting of Mohamed Morsi was a coup, says John McCain: US senator’s choice of words to describe army’s overthrow of president may have legal ramifications for US aid to Egypt” ( click link) The corespondent puts emphasis on choice of word ‘ coup’ by the Us senators, and gives it prominence as a pivotal base for his story ; so you’d imagine the reader would expect to be furnished with all facts, especially all the facts and relevant information are available to the paper man in cairo without much efforts?
Unfortunately he doesn’t whether through laziness or some other motives he leaves out vital information and facts making his report imbalanced breaking all the guidelines, rules and commonsense : the two opening paragraphs read :
John McCain has become the first US official to describe the ousting of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi as a coup – a move that contradicts the White House and potentially raises legal ramifications for American aid.
Officials, including Barack Obama, have avoided using the term to characterise the armed overthrow of Morsi’s government on 3 July, largely because US law would then require it to cut aid to Egypt.
I am not sure what was Martin Chulov excuse or reasons to leave out facts which would have been added by one sentence after 3d of july ( following massive demonstrations by millions or majority of Egyptians forcing army to step in). It would have been essential, not just for sake of balance, but to be honest in informing readers that the Egyptians themselves do’t call it a coup in another sentence. Both paper and Mr Chulov leave themselves vulnerable to racism accusation by Egyptian media observers for ignoring Egyptians views which at the heart of this dispute . ( TBC)