The insanity of Egyptian media

The insanity of Egyptian media
Xenophobic commentary is part and parcel of Egypt's TV culture.
4 min read
25 Jul, 2014
Egyptian TV is famous in the region [Ian McKinnell].

An Egyptian TV presenter has apologised to Moroccans after insulting the nation in her show. Her privately owned TV channel wrote to the Moroccan ambassador in Cairo, stressing the broadcaster’s respect for all Arab peoples, and the Egyptian foreign ministry issued a statement on the strong and enduring relationship between Egypt and Morocco, saying the insult directed against Moroccans did not represent the stance of the Egyptian government or people.


This is unusual in Egyptian media. TV presenters, writers and journalists believe that offending Algerians, Palestinians, Syrians or Qataris - or Egyptians who did not vote for Sisi – remains their birthright, which they exercise by saying what they please, haphazardly and often with a maliciousness even a psychologist - or a veterinarian – could not explain. Because this venom is accepted as normal at many Egyptian television stations and newspapers, what is unusual in this particular case is not what the shameless presenter said about Moroccans, but the apology, clarification and retraction.



TV presenters, writers and journalists in Egypt believe that offending Algerians, Palestinians, Syrians or Qataris - or Egyptians who did not vote for Sisi – remains their birthright.

This three-pronged atonement was clearly performed on instructions from upon high in the Egyptian government; even a secretary in the president’s office can now silence the TV presenters racing to praise Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and insult the steadfast people of Gaza - displaying a complete lack of morality in their abuse of neighbouring Arabs.


Even if Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been unable to protect the Egyptian people from steep price hikes or to save his own soldiers from terrorist ambushes; if his awesome wisdom has failed to produce an economic programme that could bring prosperity to Egypt and improve the living standards of its people, then he is at least capable of putting an end to the excessive madness on Egyptian television, so full of absurdity and foolishness.


Fight the hypocrisy


One would think the new Egyptian president knows how famous the country’s television is in the Arab world. The Egyptian media has distorted Egypt’s image in the minds of Arabs during the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza. This is an extremely serious matter, so an intervention by His Excellency – such as that regarding the ridiculous comments on Morocco and its people – is now urgent.


This article will refrain from naming those “journalists” who spout nonsense about Hamas and revel in a despicable hypocrisy about Egypt’s status, national security and regional role. They are under the illusion that their condemnation of Gazans, fighting for their very lives under Israeli bombardment, remains valid. For decades, Arabs have not noticed this hypocrisy, or the preeminence given to Egypt’s security and role. They waited for Egypt to lead them to the honour and dignity they desire. And because the notion of Egyptian leadership is so deeply rooted in the Arab world, Arabs were overjoyed by the 25 January 2011 revolution, until Sisi did what he did and revived the Arab crushing sense of disappointment.


Yes, there are noble, honourable, patriotic and honest journalists and TV presenters in Egypt’s media offended by the obscene language used against Syrians, Algerians, Qataris and Palestinians. However, and without patronising anyone, this evident disorder in Egyptian media needs to be stopped by the unified efforts of decent Egyptian journalists - who are in a better position to do so than the rest of us Arabs, the subjects of these abuses.


We candidly say to our Egyptian friends that this has become a disaster. It is more than an occasional phenomenon. Some of us believe Egyptians hold condescending views of Arabs, and assume that Egypt’s size and huge population provide a licence for the appearance of worthless people on television, saying what they please about any people and any country.


This is a call for Sisi to do one single commendable thing, and for all those who are honourable in the Egyptian media to help save their country. Egypt is our country too, after all, despite the arrogance stemming from the immorality and rudeness some have displayed, evident in the insults those vacuous presenters have directed against us, whether we are Palestinians, Algerians, Syrians or many others.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Al Araby Al Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.