Egypt's army must exercise restraint with state media
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||3 July 2013|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Egypt's army must exercise restraint with state media, 3 July 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/51e7a4b025.html [accessed 22 October 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
New York, July 3, 2013 – The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Egyptian military to refrain from exercising editorial control over state-owned media as the country's political crisis deepens.
Military special forces march to surround supporters of Mohammed Morsi in Nasr City, Cairo, on Wednesday. (AP/Hassan Ammar)
"Those in power have long used state media as their political tool," said Sherif Mansour, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa Coordinator. "But in these critical times, when Egyptians are desperate for independent information, the news media should not be political pawns."
The army has maintained at presence at state television headquarters since Hosni Mubarak was ousted. However, the station was allowed to broadcast President Mohamed Morsi's speech Tuesday night rejecting military intervention. Today, special units entered the newsroom to monitor content and ensure the military's messages are broadcast, news reports said, but staffers said the troops did not interfere. The army on Monday demanded that Morsi address the demands of millions of demonstrators within 48 hours or face unspecified intervention.
Information Minister Salah Abdul Maqsoud, a Morsi ally, was forced to leave the state TV building today, according to news reports. His post – long used to manage the flow of information, primarily through editorial control of state media – had been briefly suspended after Mubarak stepped down in 2011, but it was reinstated by the military. Despite expectations that he would abolish the post after taking office, Morsi instead appointed his ally.
Egyptian law effectively ensures that state-run outlets follow the editorial line of the Ministry of Information, and journalists critical of the government have been punished with suspensions or dismissals.