Minister of State for Information Osama Heikal spoke with Daily News Egypt on the state’s plan to reformulate media policy, Egyptian response to information warfare, and regaining the country’s soft media power.
Stay tuned for the extended version of the interview next week on Daily News Egypt newspaper, and www.dailynewsegypt.com
How can the Egyptian state reformulate its media policy on the short-term?
We have different measures to achieve this, first of which is involving the citizen with the government in every aspect. This means that people should get the accurate information from the government.
Doing so in a timely and proactive manner is the goal of the Ministry of State for Information. Secondly, we believe that every state decision should be coupled with a media strategy.
This strategy may precede announcing the decision or choose the best timing of the announcement. The third pillar is professionalism and credibility.
Finally, we believe in creativity and innovation, especially when it comes to new types of media. We are not only focusing on conventional media, such as newspaper, television, and radio. But, we also aim to communicate with young generation (under 40) through new media outlets.
We also collaborate with youth through state initiatives, such as photography or social media. These initiatives aim to make them familiar with the state policies, so they can reciprocate this information in their way, as they are best fitted to communicate with youth.
Egypt has been a target for information warfare launched from some regional countries, how can the state address this issue?
When you look at any media outlet, it is essential to know its source of funding, since funding decides the outlet’s agenda. In recent years, we defined the channels that work against the Egyptian state. Every TV channel in the world has an agenda, and people should be aware of this agenda. Another important aspect is that people should react to everything logically and scientifically, not emotionally.
That way, viewers can separate the wheat from the chaff. Accordingly, the state has an essential role to play, which is the fast release of facts and information, before rumours can take hold.
Can Egypt regain its soft power through media?
Indeed, I believe there is a huge chance to do so. We have already set a plan for this purpose. Obviously, there is some resistance to change. However, we need to deal with new media.
The progress in Egypt is remarkable and there are on-ground responses to critics. Even in certain files, such as human rights. The fact that the government offers proper housing to citizens who used to live in informal areas and slums is the most important human rights achievement.