Thursday’s papers: Controversy over new ‘Islamist’ editors
Heba Helmy - Egypt Independent Thu, 09/08/2012 - 16:52
The announcement of new editors-in-chief of state-owned publications
dominates the headlines of Thursday’s papers.
While independent papers claim that the new shuffle is a part of the Muslim
Brotherhood’s ongoing attempts to Islamize the state, state-owned papers
just mention the names of the new top editors without commentary.
State-run daily Al-Ahram daily lists the new appointees for the following
state-run papers: Abdel Naser Salama for Al-Ahram, Mohamed Hassan al-Bana
for Akhbar Al-Youm, Suleiman Qenawy for Al-Akhbar, Gamal Abdel Raheem for
Al-Gomhurriya, Shaker Gamal Eddin for the Middle East News Agency (MENA),
and Essam Abdel Aziz for Rose al-Youssef magazine.
Several of the new editors named Wednesday by the Shura Council, the upper
house of Egypt’s Parliament, have Islamist leanings, which raised concerns
over the Muslim Brotherhood’s alleged attempt to monopolize state-owned
Salama, who now heads the state’s flagship paper Al-Ahram, wrote a column
against Pope Shenouda in 2010, accusing him of provoking sectarian strife
between Muslims and Christians.
It is also alleged that Mohammed Hassan al-Bana of Akhbar al-Youm daily
paper is the grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood's founder, Hassan al-Bana.
Privately owned daily Youm7 states that the Brotherhood is following in the
footsteps of the dissolved National Democratic Party by seeking to control
state media’s editorial policies. A number of editors and journalists issued
a statement Wednesday calling on columnists to publish blank opinion
articles on Thursday in protest against appointing the group’s loyalists to
key media positions, Youm7 adds.
While almost all the column spaces for independent papers Youm7, Al-Watan,
and Al-Tahrir were left unwritten, but signed “in protest of the Brotherhood’s
attempts to control press and media,” unsurprisingly, state-owned columnists
did not respond to the call.
Independent paper Al-Shorouk writes that the press figures also agreed on
forming a bloc to confront the rigid stance of the Brotherhood on taking the
same strong grip over state’s publications that Mubarak’s old regime once
Reporting on the same news, privately owned daily Al-Dostour writes that
tens of journalists from both independent and state-run papers staged a
protest in front of Shura Council Wednesday. They have called for the change
of the new editors and the resignation of the head of Journalists Syndicate,
Mamdouh al-Wali, who is affiliated with the Brotherhood.
Today’s Freedom and Justice paper, the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood’s
political party, allocates a two-page spread for the biographical
information of the newly-appointed editors along with the history of each
newspaper. The long feature is published under the headline, “National
papers in a new dress.”
The news of the Egyptian army killing Sinai militants in response to Sunday’s
border brutal assault is also highlighted in today’s papers.
The liberal party paper Al-Wafd shares identical headlines with Al-Shorouk:
“The army starts the revenge battle for martyrs.”
However, there are discrepancies in the reported figures. While Al-Shorouk
states that military forces killed 20 militants in a series of raids in the
Sinai region bordering Israel on Wednesday, Al-Wafd writes that the death
toll for the attack rises to 100.
The Egyptian air raids are a strike back after gunmen attacked several
security checkpoints in the Sinai Peninsula last Sunday, killing 16 Egyptian
security officers. Al-Shorouk quotes an anonymous military source as saying,
“The attack succeeded in arresting 15 terrorists, injuring tens and
destroying three armored cars belonging to militants.”
Finally, independent daily Al-Tahrir publishes a feature on President
Mohamed Morsy’s order to force head of intelligence Murad Muwafi to retire
in the wake of the Egypt-Israel border attack. Abdel Wahed Shehata has been
appointed as the interim head of General Intelligence instead.
The announcement was made after a meeting between the newly-elected
president and the National Defense Council over the security situation in
Sinai and the procedures needed to improve the central security department.
The reshuffle also saw the appointment of Maged Nouh as assistant minister
for central security and Osama al-Saghir as assistant minister for the Cairo
security department, the paper says.
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned
Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom
and Justice Party
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party
Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party