There is no doubt the talk about media in Egypt at this time is very difficult, and the reason is that there is a fierce attack on the oppressed/unjust media.
The media is made up of presenters and journalists working in a television channel, radio station, newspaper, or website. Media also includes recipients of people and various state institutions.
You may wonder why I said “oppressed/unjust.” The media is oppressed because it works hard, helps correct news on the 25 January Revolution, and assists in the restoration of the true Egyptian identity, after many people attempt to blur the cultural and civil identity of Egypt following the revolution.
On the other hand, the media is unjust because its content has become very weak, and mostly according to the owners’ views. Unfortunately, we only see the same content in most media, except for a few. Some media also address public issues and problems in isolation from what is going on from a fierce war on the Egyptian state internally and externally—as if we are in normal circumstances to call for economic and social requirements that are difficult to achieve.
I have wondered how some officials attack the media, because—from their perspective—it does not support the state. I say to all officials in Egypt that their institutions and ministries must provide the media with accurate and proper information as well as severe transparency in making decisions and transactions and to accept the criticism, aiming for the benefit of the Egyptian state.
And I say to officials in Egypt that there is a difference between supporting the Egyptian state—which is a right and a duty upon us—and between supporting an official as if it is the state; and this is unacceptable, especially if that person is aimless, in which case he must accept the objective criticism of the media and correct his mistakes.
There is also no doubt that the Czech attempts in any achievements are unacceptable from any type of media, but anger should never be a response. Thus, the media should use a pragmatic response by filming these achievements so that experts would explain it to sceptics.
And as a researcher in media, I would like to clarify some important issues for the Arab Information Charter of Honour and the freedom of media. The general principles of the Arab Information Charter of Honour held at Casablanca on 15 September, 1965, stated that it should emphasise religious and moral values and the accumulated supreme principles of human legacies. It should search for the plain truth that could serve justice and virtue. It should strengthen relations and deepen understanding, material and moral reactions, and exchange among the Arab world community … etc.
It has become universally accepted that the media became the fourth power of every government after the legislative, executive, and judicial powers.
The Arab Information Charter of Honour has aimed to provide the optimum picture for media and how it should be. But, unfortunately, we find that the media message at the present time has been almost emptied of its substance, becoming the mouthpiece to owners of the money or owners of domination, control, and influence. Media now praise and applause in accordance with the overall policy and the ruling directions without regard for the ethics of the profession and without commitment to the Charter of Honour.
This resulted in some exotic terms on this profession, such as disinformation, media blackout, crossfire media, media filter, and yellow journalism, in addition to other terms that tarnished the image of the media among citizens.
One of the serious problems afflicting the media is mixing roles and functions in the presenters’ minds, where the presenters live the role of the broadcaster, the hero, the critic, the cultured leader, the instigator, the judge, and the decision maker. But what they tend to forget is that they are just a tool to transport, interpret, clarify, and discuss, and to preach, judge, or lead.
There is a bad concept of freedom of information, which in media means not to impose restrictions on the profession or its presenters and not to withhold information from them or to provide them with distorted or truncated information. In contrast, the media presenter must be at the same distance as much as possible from all parties without bias, taking into account the etiquette and ethics of the profession as much as possible.
However, the concept of media freedom is often misunderstood or misused:
– Under the name of freedom of information, we find that this freedom has been launched to trace and broadcast rumours and expose more accurate personal details of the life of community icons, which is defamatory and narrowing to them.
– Under the name of freedom of information, we find profanity and exotic scenes that do not conform to values.
– And under the name of freedom of information, we find insults on the symbols of the nation without fear of accountability.
– Over and above, under the name of freedom of information, we find eavesdropping on opponents, keeping track of their news, and being sceptic in their activities, values, and principles, or even the constitution and law.
We all need to pause, and we want to request the media or state officials to provide freedom, accurate information, and transparency, and not to forget that they are supposed to serve the people of Egypt. We, as the people of Egypt, do not accept whoever does not accept the objective criticism that aims to benefit the Egyptian state.