Egypt: Russian media reports and a second day of voting

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My mum has been nervous for me for the past week. She’s been writing me emails, demanding my calls and daily reports on the situation in Egypt. Well I understand that she is worried but she cannot really understand that everything is fine here; that I am safe.

And I was wondering why she was so nervous: there was nothing horrible going on in the country. As it appeared Russian news outlets simply fail to report the events accurately. Well Russian media simply reports a bunch of lies and misinformation. For some reason the media tries to scare people off by reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood is going to take over the country and kick out all the Russian tourists wearing bikinis on Egyptian resorts.

Well let’s see what’s happening. Russia Today is a biggest example of this kind of disappointment for me. However, it is not a surprise that the quality of the reporting is not even close to any journalistic standards: Russia Today is fully sponsored and dependent on the Kremlin, therefore, the channel obeys what the Kremlin has to declare. Here is a good article on contradicting reporting of Russia Today versus Al Jazeera while covering the revolution in Egypt.

Moving on. The one and only political show that I watch on Russian tv is called Nedelya (A week) that provides analysis of the current events for the past week. The most recent episode of this show reports on Egypt as well. This program does not have a reporter in Egypt, therefore, correspondents decided to interview some religious leaders from the Caucasus: a region with the biggest Muslim population in Russia. So these religious leaders declared that it was the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who started the twitter/facebook revolution in Egypt. [Hmm.. interesting. My friends who go on Tahrir every day said the opposite.] Moreover this TV program scared the perspective Russian tourists that bikinis will be banned on the beaches of Egypt and even now women feel uncomfortable wearing a T-shirt in Cairo. [Hmmm… really???]

Another article in the Russian press reported that two women-journalists were raped on Tahrir square. The article also informed that Reporters without Borders (RSF) advised to stop sending female journalists to Egypt due to the countless cases of sexual harassment. Well no link to the RSF web site was provided. So I have no idea where they got this info from. NO ONE WAS RAPED ON TAHRIR. STOP THESE LIES!!!

In the meantime:

Egypt has a second day of elections. And majority of my friends here are excited.

And Something Remarkable Is Happening in Egypt:

There are four stories to be told in Tahrir: tear gas suffocation and death; extreme police brutality; incredible acts of sacrifice, and the foundation of a new social contract.

Lines waiting to vote By monasosh

people who voted demonstrate their inky fingers

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5 responses »

  1. I have a feeling maybe Al Jazeera hasn’t been telling you the whole truth either. There was indeed an attack on CBS reporter Lana Logan, she was raped and beaten while trying to film an episode of 60 minutes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/15/lara-logan-suffered-bruta_n_823677.html

    As for the violence propagated by the army, there has been plenty of that: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/25/world/africa/egypt-eye-hunter/index.html

    Also I’d like to state that Russia Today is not the only news source claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood orchestrated this, Francophone papers have been claiming it too- I guess the facts have to be found through all the media and then working through the opinions to some truth.

    • well yeah Lara Logan attack is also doubtful. I saw some contradicting reports earlier and how the American media presented the whole thing.

      This time NO ONE was raped for sure. Even these femele-journalists who were arrested by the police said that.

      I dunno why it is convenient to say such a thing about Muslim Brotherhood, but it is not as simple as it might seem from abroad. Muslim Brotherhood plaid some role but they were not a dominant force on Tahrir.

      • When you say that even “these femele-journalists who were arrested by the police said that .. NO ONE was raped”, are you referring to Mona Al-Tahtawy? Because yes, she was not literally raped, but close enough … she has recounted her experience like this:

        “It was on Wednesday night when I went along with an activist friend of mine to Mohammed Mahmud Street, which was the front line between where protesters had been in a standoff in clashes with security forces. Soon after we arrived on the front line, they started shooting. So, we took cover in what we thought was a safe area. But, we realize now that we’d been entrapped by government agents on our side of the barrier, because they basically held on to us. [..] They held on to as until riot police came on to our side of the barrier and took my friend away and surrounded me. I was surrounded by four or five riot police. And they just brutally beat me with their sticks. [..]

        In trying to protect myself, they broke my arm, here, and my hand, there. Then they dragged into a no-man’s land in between where the protesters stand and where the security forces are, and that’s where the sexual assault happened. It was just hands all over me, on my breasts, in between my legs. I lost count of the number of hands trying to get into my jeans, all while I was being beaten. My hair, they were pulling my hair. They were calling me a whore, a daughter of a whore. And then they managed to drag me all the way into the Interior Ministry where the assaults continued to happen until someone from the military said, take her inside, and then I was held inside the Ministry of Interior for five to six hours [..]. And then I was handed over to military intelligence where I was blindfolded for two or five hours [..].”

        http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/28/as_egypt_holds_vote_journalist_mona

        Obviously, this is the police doing the attacks – can’t possibly pin this on the Muslim Brotherhood. In general, it’s the police forces that have been behind most of the sexist violence, not the Tahrir revolutionaries or the Muslim Brotherhood. Human Rights First reported today on a woman’s rights demonstration against the humiliating “virginity test” carried out by the army against a female Tahrir protestor and activist, and it notes that “local human rights groups documenting official abuse specific to women activists say that Mona’s ordeal was not unique. Women activists are being portrayed as prostitutes and subjected to strip searches, sexual baiting, charges of prostitution, and outright sexual assault.”

        http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/2011/11/30/why-egyptian-women-are-mad-and-marching/

        The Caroline Sinz case, however, is more unclear. I’ve seen some Tahrir activists on Twitter blame police provocateurs. But the attack on her did take place on Tahrir Square itself, see the RSF link in my other comment.

        I’m also not sure what you mean when you say that “well yeah Lara Logan attack is also doubtful”, that there have been “contradicting reports” and the American media may just have presented the whole thing wrong. I mean, she herself recounted in detail what happened to her. Are you saying she was lying about being sexually assaulted?

  2. Reporters Without Borders did in fact issue a warning to international media about sending female reporters. The link is right at the top of the Egypt page of the Reporters Without Borders website.

    Searching for >reporters without borders egypt< on Google News also gets you a ton of stories about their warning

    Here's the warning:

    MEDIA URGED TO PRIORITIZE SAFETY AFTER ANOTHER SEXUAL ASSAULT ON WOMAN REPORTER
    http://en.rsf.org/egypte-media-urged-to-prioritize-safety-after-another-sexual-assault-on-woman-reporter-25-11-2011,41465.html

    "International news media should take great care with the safety of the reporters they send to cover the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, Reporters Without Borders said today after Caroline Sinz, a French reporter for public TV station France 3, yesterday became the latest woman journalist to be sexually assaulted while covering the street protests in this part of Cairo.

    “We urge the media to take great care and to make the security of their reporters and local correspondents their priority,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is more dangerous for a woman than a man to cover the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. That is the reality and the media must face it. It is the first time that there have been repeated sexual assaults against women reporters in the same place. The media must keep this in mind when sending staff there and must take special safety measures.

    “We are not saying the international media should pull out and stop covering events in Egypt. But they need to adapt to the threats that currently exist. And women journalists going to Tahrir Square should be aware of this situation.”

    According to Agence France-Presse, Sinz and her cameraman, Salah Agrabi, began being attacked on a street leading from Tahrir Square to the interior ministry.

    “We were filming in Mohammed Mahmud Street when we were mobbed by young people who were about 14 or 15,” Sinz told AFP. Then they were dragged by a group of men towards Tahrir Square where they became separated.

    “We were then assaulted by a crowd of men. I was beaten by a group of youngsters and adults who tore my clothes.” Then they molested her in a way that “would be considered rape,” she said. “Some people tried to help me but failed. I was lynched. It lasted three quarters of an hour before I was taken out. I thought I was going to die.” Her cameraman was also beaten, she said.

    According to AFP, Sinz was finally rescued by a group of Egyptians and taken back to her hotel, where she was assisted by the French embassy before being seen by a doctor.

    The assault on Sinz came just hours Egyptian-American journalist Mona Al-Tahtawy reported on Twitter that she was sexually assaulted repeatedly by policemen while held for 12 hours after being arrested near Mohammed Mahmud Street on the night 23 November (http://en.rsf.org/egypt-journalists-arrested-physically-23-11-2011,41439.html).

    US reporter Lara Logan of CBS News was the victim of a prolonged sexual assault by a crowd near Tahrir Square on 11 February, the day President Hosni Mubarak fell from power."

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