Media Coverage in Egypt Protests unfair to Egypt and Egyptians

Egypt has been marred by a series of public protests to force the long serving president, Hosni Mubaraka, out of office. While the situation continues to worsen, the media coverage of the matter has been intensified from all over the world. Different perspectives and views about the condition have emerged through the media coverage; some have reported it as a crisis unfolding while others view the situation as a political unrest. (2011) reported that the current protests in Egypt are likely to bring a political crisis in the country. I my own opinion this statement is a misinterpretation of the situation in Egypt. The country is already in crisis. (2011), reported the situation as just ‘street protests’ by the public. This is also a misrepresentation of the Egyptian condition. In this essay, I will present my argument based on the following thesis: The media coverage in Egyptian crisis has been unfair to both Egypt and Egyptians. The argument will use the current reports from the media about the situation in Egypt. I will also compare the role played by the media in national crisis with the coverage of the crisis at hand.

Although media has been excellent in capturing and airing pictures of protestors in the streets of Cairo there is more left out in the coverage. The media has a role to inform the public on events as they unfold in Egypt. It is also their role to give an analytical coverage of these situations. There are some of us who never knew a country by the name Egypt; we came to know of it after the protests into the street started. The question which usually arises is why Egyptians decided to rise against the peace they have built for decades. The coverage has majorly been given to the street protestors. Analysis of the condition has not been focused. The media should inform the world the causes of the situation; in details. This so far has not been covered. I expect CNN to analyze the 32 year regime of President Hosni Mubarak and how it has subsequently resulted into protests from the public. It is not enough to follow the proceedings on the issue but detailed reports should be presented in all the media including the local media in Egypt. This is not fair to the people of Egypt who have caused the mayhem to get international attention.

Egyptians went to streets to voice their problems to the world and gunner international support (CNN, 2011). This can only be achieved by intensive coverage by the media. What is intensive media coverage? Intensive media coverage should not only be the revelation of images and pictures through the Newspapers or TVs but also live interviews with the leaders and the common people. The people of Egypt would like to send a message to leaders on behalf of Africa, specifically to Muslim countries, that they need freedom like other citizens in the world. I have been following CNN news on this story but I am annoyed to note that I have not received the satisfaction I have ever wanted. I would like to hear the Egyptians interviewed live on camera and their grievances presented on the front pages of all the newspapers all over the world. I would like to watch and receive updates on this issue wherever events unfolds. Instead of presenting the views of the people directly, the media is busy trying to access the kingdom of Hosni Mubarak for interviews. For sure the president does not represent the views of the people any further. So it is imperative to note here that it is not of any importance to interview the president or any of his accomplices. The correct and useful information lies within the so called protestors. The media need to give more coverage to the people’s views in the street but not spent so much time negotiating with leaders for interviews.

Media is a reactive form of information delivery. However, with the sophistication of technology in communication systems, it should move to the next phase of technology; active. Although the media reacted fast to the situation in Egypt, it would have been interesting to receive pre-crisis information. The information about the protests in Egypt hit headlines immediately after the streets were on fire, and the air was full of huge chunks of concrete stones (CNN news, 2011). How did it start? What fueled it? These are questions in my mind. If the media coverage would have been intensified before the real crisis started, the world could have been aware in advance. Maybe this could have even prevented the occurrence of this situation. I do not support the Hosni regime, but I believe the world would have done something to save the property and life. I strongly hold and believe the international community would have forced Hosni Mubarak out of the office before what we are witnessing today. The local media should have been the first to update the world about the unfolding events prior to the crisis. This was unfair to the Egyptians. There could be no destruction of property which has brought the economy to a standstill.

Contradictions in reports by different news agencies are unfair to the people of Egypt. Local media refer to the situation as just ‘street protests’ (, 2011), others refer to it as ‘Egypt unrest’ (BBC, 2011) while a few ‘Egypt crisis’ (CNN, 2011). I think these terms do not carry the same weight. When referred to as unrest, in my opinion, it is just a small group of people who are fighting the legitimate rule of the land. Are Egyptians fighting the laws of the country? If referred to as street protests, to me, it is just a group of politicians against a move by the government. The case in Egypt is not by a group of people. It is a protest by all the citizens of that country who demand for change in the way they are led; by forcing the current president to relinquish his powers. In the process of expressing their views and anger through protests, property has been destructed and I believe several lives have been lost. What then do we refer to this situation in Egypt? For me crisis is the better word to describe the current condition in this country. International media reports, February 2011, show that there is danger for more destruction in future whereas the local media reports that the calmness has been restored with the peace talks underway between the government and the opposition. These contradictions are unfair to Egyptians. Correct and accurate reports would help the international community understand the real condition in the ground. It would also let the friends of Egypt know how and when to help settle the dispute in this country. But with this kind of media coverage, nothing, for sure, will be done to leverage this country.

Mass action, especially against government, is usually characterized by violence and human rights violation. Egypt cases of human rights have been overlooked by the media. While the media focus strongly on the negotiations by the vice president with the opposition (, 2011), I believe, there is a lot in terms human rights violation behind the cameras. I expect the media, at least, to provide some statistics of the injuries and lives lost. Although the issue has dominated the media, very little has been reported on human rights. Instead of investing so much time on the negotiations, the media ought to have established the extremists from both sides; the government police and protesting citizens. Have there been people killed by the police in the process of controlling the mass actions? This information is very important to organizations such as Red Cross who will stretch their aid to the area. It is not that the negotiations are meaningless to me; in any case they are the means to an end of this situation. However, priority in coverage is what matters here. Human life is very crucial. The issue of human rights violation and human suffering is a matter which the media need to cover as much as possible. This will ensure the law keepers are kept under pressure and their excessive use of force against the protestors will be exposed. The media should therefore, in my opinion, shift more attention to this issue in coverage.

I think the Egypt crisis will have a great effect on the African economy. The continued unrest has brought to halt the transactions between Cairo and the rest of the African countries. The transport sector is in standstill and therefore international trade is no longer operational. According to (2011), Canada has stated to withdraw its citizens from Cairo and the rest of the country. I believe this decision is likely to be taken by other nations from all over the world. In order to leverage the economic situation, media, particularly local and African, should put the issue in the headlines. This has not been the case. African media has not given Egypt the support it ought to. In fact the Egyptian story is presented ‘between the pages’ of dailies and at the end of TV news. I comprehend that most African news, especially TV stations; face challenge of technology and limitation of rights in airing international news. But through collaboration with the powerful media companies in the world it is possible to obtain rights to do so. However, very few have done so in Africa for this specific case of Egypt. I think African media can do more in coverage of Egyptian situation.

The local media in Egypt is very unfair in coverage of this matter. This is because most of language used by this media is Arabic. I do not short sight or undermine Arabic language in any; it is one of the popular languages widely used in the world. What impact is it really going to have on the Egyptian situation? First it should be noted that what the people of Egypt are fighting is what all the Arabian leaders hold dear. The case of Tunisia is a reality of life to all of us. Why did Saudi Arabia accept to host the exiled president while his own country was against him? It is because Saudi Arabians believe that Zine had not done anything against the wish of Tunisians (, 2011). Egyptians want the end of regime of tyranny and oppression in their country. In my opinion, Arabic leaders believe in this kind of leadership. Do we then expect Egyptians to receive aid from any of the Arabic speaking countries? NO. Why should then the local media in Egypt broadcast in Arabic? I think it would be fair to translate their reports in major other languages in the world. I believe leaders who uphold freedom and accountability of citizens will come for help of these ‘poor people’.

I am supportive for the approach given by the European and American media. Recently, CNN reporter is said to have interviewed President Mubarak, although live broadcast was barred. This is an extreme effort by CNN to expose the feelings of the president on this matter. In my own analysis of different dailies most of these broadcasters admit that there is a crisis in Egypt which should not be lightly taken.

Generally the media cover, in my opinion, on the Egyptian crisis has been unsatisfactorily done. The local media should use variety of languages, not only Arabic, to inform the world on the insight stories of this crisis. The media should cover more of the human rights violation and present statistical data of the same. In this way the media shall have played an important role in leveraging Egypt and Egyptians.








CNN. Egypt Crisis: Danger for more Protestors. February 8, 2011. Retrieved on February 8 2011 from    Egypt. February 8, 2011. Retrieved on February 8 2011 from   

BBC. Egypt Unrest: Day Six as it Happened. February 8, 2011. Retrieved on February 8 2011 from   

EgyptDailyNews. Egypt. February 8, 2011. Retrieved on February 8 2011 from   


Written by