A number of pro-Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian expats took to the streets of Manhattan in a tour bus to protest in front of the United Nations headquarters ahead of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s speech before the 71st general debate of the UN general assembly.
The protest itself is not unprecedented. Every year, since the ouster of former Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, Egyptians, both those who support and those who oppose Al-Sisi, assemble in front of the UN headquarters. The two groups are separated by a barricade in the same block.
The number of this year’s protestors, however, was significantly lower than last year.
Every year, Egyptian media outlets turn a blind eye to the opposition rally, and limit their footage and interviews to the supporters’ group.
Media trainer Khaled Baramawy told Daily News Egypt that this kind of one-sided coverage is simply not efficient. “If the media does not want to show a certain event, social media platforms will now cover this gap,” he said.
Egyptian-Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ), the organiser of the protest rallies, published images and videos of the protest and the bus while it was heading to the UN headquarters.
The video showcased a number of people, including some wearing t-shirts with a sign in solidarity with the victims of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in dispersal, chanting against Al-Sisi and the military regime. They also chanted against the group of supporters, describing them as “slaves”, and chanted for Morsi.
“Ignoring one side of the story is unprofessional. However, there should always be a balance between both sides,” he said.
Generally speaking, Baramawy said that the main objective of any media outlet is to satisfy its target audience, and when it comes to news covering in particular, all sides should be covered.
Every year, about 5,000 journalists cover the UN general assembly from different countries around the world, including an average of 50 Egyptians.
According to Baramawy, there was a huge number of Egyptian reporters covering the general assembly this year, yet “the scope of coverage was narrowly focusing on local issues”. The reporting should have also started a couple of weeks earlier than the summit date, he added.
The EAJF group organises a number of events and seminars throughout the year, and speaks up against Al-Sisi’s regime, according to its Facebook page.