In privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, the “forces of evil,” a term used in the prosecutor general’s statement to refer to the media, was the focus of its Editor-in-chief Emad El-Din Hussein as well journalist and member of the Press Syndicate’s board Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafiz.
Hussein said that the statement, which tasked prosecutors with monitoring the media and social media for false news or rumours, fails in its current phrasing to achieve the justified goal behind it, which is to face fake news and media which gives a platform for and supports “terrorist groups”. However, Hussein blamed the statement for using the biased above term and vagueness in ordering the arrest of “those who spread” news threatening public order, stating that there are no clear criteria of evaluation.
In a higher critical tone, Abdel Hafiz said the state went as far as calling journalists “evil” because of the nature of their job in exposing reality. To him, the state’s hostility towards the press, despite controlling and oppressing the majority of outlets, can be understood, unlike the stance of the prosecutor general, who is supposed to be the “people’s lawyer.” Abdel Hafiz said the statement “raised concerns” with regards to the independence of the press, guaranteed by the constitution, and also the objectivity of those in charge of protecting rights.
On the opposite side, Khaled Miry, editor-in-chief of state-run daily Al-Akhbar, dedicated a page about “recent incidents on the local and foreign levels which reveal a planned, systematic, and funded work aimed at insulting Egypt’s police and military.”
Those include the BBC’s report on forced disappearances, an Egyptian book offensive to the army, a Human Rights Watch report on escalation against opponents, a critical film, and “unfounded accusations” of human rights violations during the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. According to Miry, in Egypt, there is no intimidation, terrorisation, lies, or propaganda in the name of religion or corruption.
For political analyst Abdul Moneim Saeed, the Egyptian government changed its previous strategy when it realised it was about the political game, calling the current strategy a “resistance” plan in his piece in the private Al-Masry Al-Youm, which was successfully implemented according to him in the latest BBC controversy when the Egyptian media countered the alleged disappearance of a woman named Zubaida Ibrahim.
On a different note, in state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram, renowned journalist Amina Shafiq wrote that she would go to the ballot boxes in the upcoming presidential election, adding “but for whom will I vote? That’s between myself and my conscience.” Shafiq opined that reviving political work in Egypt and the Arab world would safeguard them from foreign interventions, giving an example on Iraq, which is still in its reconstruction phase, originally destroyed by the 2003 American invasion of it and facing a series of political failures since.
Lastly, coinciding with the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Cairo, Al-Ahram’s editorial team praised and welcomed him, asserting the he has full support from Egypt’s government and people.
“Egypt’s friend” was the description used by Emad Adeeb in Al-Watan newspaper for bin Salman, a friendship between him and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi that “is further strengthened when joined by their third partner Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of the UAE.”