Al Jazeera Arabic broadcast fake Muslim Brotherhood protests: Egyptian media

Al Jazeera Arabic broadcast fake Muslim Brotherhood protests: Egyptian media
State-owned Al-Jazeera and other Qatari and Turkish-funded channels have been accused for their pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 28 September 2020

Al Jazeera Arabic broadcast fake Muslim Brotherhood protests: Egyptian media

Al Jazeera Arabic broadcast fake Muslim Brotherhood protests: Egyptian media
  • Al-Jazeera ignored required vetting process for the videos before using them

DUBAI/LONDON: State-owned Al-Jazeera and other Qatari and Turkish-funded channels have been accused for their pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias after airing videos of staged protests in Egypt, ignoring the required vetting process for the materials before using them.

Al-Jazeera, Mekameleen, Al-Sharq and the Rassd news outlets are known for their hostile reporting on the present Egyptian government, Egypt Today reported, especially in the aftermath of Muslim Brotherhood being declared a terrorist organization and right after its leader Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power.

“All Egyptian intelligence agencies are monitoring all their (Muslim Brotherhood) plans targeting the people’s collective awareness to cause discord between the public and the trustworthy national leadership,” Brig. Gen. Mohammed Noureddine, former assistant to the Egyptian minister of interior and a security expert, told Arab News.

“The Egyptian National Police is well aware of the attempts to exhaust it and repeat the January 2011 scenarios by setting various appointments of what they call (Friday of anger against the regime), to exert psychological pressure on police personnel, officers, and recruits, in addition to all agencies in charge of confronting riots and hostile plans against the people’s assets and its symbols.”

The staged protests were filmed by United Company for Media Services led by Tamer Morsy, an Egyptian businessman and media producer, and were sent on purpose to the channels to test the degree of their professionalism, the report said.

Al-Jazeera’s decision to publish the video, allegedly without checking the source or treating the video with skepticism and citing unknown sources, shocked TV presenters and public figures in Egypt, the report added.

A special episode on Extra News channel presented by Youm7 editor-in-chief Khaled Salah and TV presenter Youssef Al-Hosseini showed how the purported protest actions Giza’s Nazlet El-Semman village were filmed.

The special episode showed a number of young pseudo-protesters at the Media Production City in Giza receiving instructions from director, before cameras rolled and they started to chant against the Egyptian state as part of a scene.

TV presenter Amr Adib has also called on Al-Jazeera to publish an apology for publishing a fake video without verification, and referred the Qatari channel’s similar missteps.

Al-Jazeera earlier this month published an old video, taken in 2013, and claimed that dozens of people were protesting against President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The fabricated video went viral on pro-Muslim Brotherhood trolls’ social media accounts.

Egypt Today in a separate report said that the Muslim Brotherhood are allegedly targeting children as new recruits to their group, with the leadership reviving the Young Lions committee specifically for the purpose.

“The Young Lions committee will outline a whole pedagogic program that targets children and teenagers at schools, clubs and youth centers to once again engrave extremist ideas in the minds of a generation in a secret fashion and without revealing their name,” the report said.


New report shows extent of Turkey’s oppression of free press

Updated 05 December 2020

New report shows extent of Turkey’s oppression of free press

Demonstrators hold posters reading ‘Journalism is the insurance of democracy,’ in front of a courthouse in Istanbul, before a trial of jailed journalists. (AFP)
  • One concern about the new law is that it could push companies to comply with the government’s censorship trend by removing content upon request and handing over user data to the highly politicized authorities and courts of the country

ANKARA: An exhaustive new report published by the joint international press freedom mission to Turkey that took place in October reveals the extent of the country’s crackdown on media freedom in the country and calls for coordinated action from the international community to address the challenge.

The report, entitled “Turkey’s Journalists on the Ropes,” was funded by the EU and supported by 11 international organizations that focus on freedom of speech and human rights.

The mission took place against the backdrop of ongoing targeting of dissident media by the Turkish authorities, increased assaults on journalists critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime, and a newly introduced restrictive social-media law that is likely to further hamper the last remaining bastion in of independent reporting in the country.

The mission’s previous visit to Turkey, in September 2019, focused on the changes in trial proceedings, pre-trial detentions, the abuse of anti-terror laws to imprison dissident journalists, and potential changes that could be brought about by the Judicial Reform Strategy.

At the start of October 2020, 77 journalists were still in prison, one of the highest numbers in any country in the world. This year’s report drew attention to the controversial amnesty law announced earlier this year to ease overcrowding in Turkish prisons, which excluded journalists from its scope.

“Turkey’s press freedom crisis is worsening amid growing state capture of media, the lack of independence of regulatory institutions, and a new social media law designed to clamp down on the remaining spaces for free comment,” the report stated, adding that the lack of judicial independence in Turkey encourages the government’s crackdown on the press.

The report also criticized the new social media law, predicting that it would increase online censorship and cripple critical journalism in a space that had previously been open to the kind of independent reporting stymied by the government’s takeover of mainstream media.

HIGHLIGHT

The report, titled “Turkey’s Journalists on the Ropes,” was funded by the EU and supported by 11 international organizations that focus on freedom of speech and human rights.

One concern about the new law is that it could push companies to comply with the government’s censorship trend by removing content upon request and handing over user data to the highly politicized authorities and courts of the country — opening the way for further arrests of journalists who express dissident views online.

Last year, a total of 61,049 website domains were blocked in Turkey.

The politically motivated targeting of critical broadcasters in Turkey remains a significant problem, with regulatory bodies stepping up fines and broadcast bans on dissident TV channels and threatening to revoke their licenses if they receive a second ban, while pushing for advertising bans on critical newspapers.

“Growing authoritarianism, with the Turkish authorities trying to establish full control over the flow of information, is our main concern. They do this by different means — from jailing journalists to changing legislation to make it more difficult for journalists and media outlets to operate freely in Turkey,” Gulnoza Said, press freedom advocate and head of the Europe and Central Asia Program at the Committee to Protect Journalists, told Arab News.

Between March and August alone, there were 13 incidents of arrest or investigation of dissident journalists reporting on COVID-19 cases. Since the beginning of this year, at least 22 journalists have been arrested.

Their trials are not being held publicly, nor are lawyers permitted to attend the hearings. The authorities claim this is because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but observers have called for the government to uphold the principle of fair trials.

In November, at least 30 press-related trials were held in eight Turkish provinces, with some 40 journalists being prosecuted. Nine of those journalists were accused of insulting state officials.

“The international community must step up its bilateral and multilateral efforts to bring Turkey back into the club of countries that respects the rule of law. Human rights issues, including press freedom, must not be held hostage to geopolitical developments,” the report said.

According to Said, international leverage should still be used, but there are fewer levers now than there were years ago when Turkey aspired to become a member of the EU.

“Today, there is disenchantment with the West — both the EU and the US — in Turkey. That was coupled with the US distancing itself from playing (a central) role in defending democracy and human rights, including press freedom around the world, over the last four years. I hope the new US administration will be more vocal defending free press and independent journalists in Turkey and elsewhere,” she said.

The mission’s report welcomed some positive rulings by the Turkish Constitutional Court concerning the protection of freedom of expression online and offline. “However, lower courts increasingly ignore these rulings; for example, they have refused to lift website blockings in some cases,” the report noted.