By Alya Essam
As reporters have been protesting against the detention of Egyptian journalist Shaimaa Adel, a debate rages as to whether Morsy’s intervention in her release was conceived as a hoax to garner the public support in what was in fact a presidential duty that should not be regarded as a top-notch move.
After two-weeks under arrest in Sudan while covering unrest in Khartoum, the Al-Watan reporter hit many headlines that condemn the miscarriage of human rights and freedom of the press.
But her companionship with Morsy on his trip from Ethiopia to Cairo in a special presidential jet did raise a lot of questions around the president’s true intentions as to the journalist’s release.
Some critics threw scathing attacks on Morsy’s move to return Adel to Cairo through Addis Ababa, considering the move a manoeuvre to prove to Egyptians his superman powers and an effort to assert his will to safeguard journalists and their basic rights.
In one of her first interviews after the arrest, Adel confirmed in a TV talk show that she had not had one single picture taken with President Morsy as she breakfasted with him upon her return from Sudan. “If it was to gain public attention, a simple picture could have been all over Egyptian newspapers highlighting that the president is having breakfast with the newly-released journalist,” Adel said.
Fostering doubts that her release stems from Morsy’s attempts to seeking public attention, the reporter repeatedly described her meeting with the president as, ‘as fatherly’ as it could be.
However, as many fellow reporters were waiting in the airport to welcome Adel, the journalist was rushed out of the building, as many ironically compared the scene, like a superstar shying away from cameras at the Cannes Film Festival.
Responding to the criticisms, Adel asserted that strict orders from the presidential palace are the reason why the guard prevented her from stopping at the airport and to escort her to the house.
On Tuesday, the Shura Council scolded the poor media coverage of Morsy’s intervention in Adel’s release, stating that the move was good enough to receive proper media attention.
The concern here is as to why the body would lambast media for not creating propaganda for one of the simplest presidential duties. If the president’s intention was solely to lure sentiment, then it should come as no surprise that he plays a role in setting Adel free.
Regardless of whether or not Morsy made Adel’s release his first request to the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in fatherly or presidential act, or whether he simply wanted to play the hero, the move is definitely positive and favourable.
Assuming Morsy’s good intentions towards Shaimaa’s release, when will he show his plans to give similar attentions to civilian detainees who remain in political detention or those tried in front of military trials?
Morsy was once there in one of the same cells. Isn’t it time to feel for his fellow political detainees? Shaimaa is out, but many remain inside!