Watching the unfolding events in Egypt, I have been continuously, and unpleasantly, surprised by the way the ongoing protests have been covered by the western media – indeed, I even wrote a short article on the matter for the Graduate Times in which I decried the seeming ignorance of many journalists and news commentators when it comes to the cultural and political nuances of the Arab world.
But having been avidly following the developments of the last few days, I feel I must speak out again, and this time specifically against the British media. According to Al Jazeera, the Rassd News Network, Twitter, Bloggers and other information sources, yesterday saw the biggest turnout yet of crowds in Tahrir Square in central Cairo, calling for the immediate resignation of ageing despot Hosni Mubarak. But the presenters on the BBC’s lunchtime news broadcast remained ominously silent about the people power growing in the Middle East. Indeed, any casual consumer of Britain’s mainstream print and broadcast media over the course of this week could easily be forgiven for thinking that things in Egypt have returned to normal, or at least died down considerably, as the protests there have gradually faded from the news output.
I am not going to use this opportunity to rant and rile against the mainstream media and complain bitterly that they are letting the conscientious public down when it comes to providing accurate and informative news. Such words are merely reflective of my own personal opinion and will do nothing to convince the disinterested or sceptical reader. Instead, I am going to list a few of the more inappropriate headlines that have appeared in the British press over the past two weeks in relation to events in Egypt – what you take from this is up to you, but this is what our media have been saying:
1.”Egyptian protestors turn tables on police” – Daily Mail, 27 January 2011
2. “Brits carry on sunbathing: as 2m hit Egypt’s streets, it’s just the time for a bargain break” – Daily Mail, 1 February 2011
3.”Raiders of the lost Mubarak: Museums looted in revolt against Tyrant” – The Sun, 1 February 2011
4. “Egypt travel insurance Q&A: Are you covered?” – The Telegraph, 3 February 2011
5. “Thanks to Egypt, Netanyahu will shun peace process for months” – The Telegraph, 8 February 2011
6.”Turmoil in Tunisa and Egypt cost Thomas Cook £20m” – The Mirror, 9 February 2011
7, 8 and 9. Three seemingly contradictory headlines from the Guardian:
“Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is a force the world can no longer afford to ignore” – 6 February 2011
“Omar Suleiman demonised Muslim Brotherhood” – 6 February 2011
“Egypt raises spectre of Muslim Brotherhood ‘bogeyman‘” – 7 February 2011
10. And finally, perhaps the worst of all: “Victory for protestors as Mubarak ends 30-year reign” – The Sun, 1 February 2011
Really? That IS news…..Oh no wait, it isn’t…