Echoes of 2011 and the intensity of the Arab Spring. The call for change resounding once again from Cairo’s Tahrir Square has brought down another Egyptian leader – this time Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s first democratically elected president. In response, thousands of Morsi's supporters have taken to the streets.
The media is at the centre of the story. The Egyptian army’s ultimatum to Morsi was delivered via Maspero – the state broadcast network that has been a political pawn for three different administrations since the uprising began: first Mubarak, then Egypt’s armed forces and, until this week, the Muslim Brotherhood.
But it is the independent media landscape that has seen real change. Under Morsi’s 12-month presidency, outlets that supported the Brotherhood flourished while journalists who dared to criticise – or in the case of Bassem Youssef, satirise – the president faced an unprecedented number of lawsuits.
The president’s ouster has begun with the closure of outlets sympathetic to the Brotherhood as well as a raid on the studios of Al Jazeera’s Egyptian channel, Mubasher Misr, once a favourite of the crowds in Tahrir, more recently vilified for a perceived pro-Morsi bias.
This week’s News Divide reviews a year in the Egyptian media under Mohamed Morsi. We speak to Nader Omran from the Freedom and Justice Party; Ayman Gaballah, the managing director of Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr; Ashraf Khalil, the author of Liberation Square; Hani Shukrallah, the former chief editor of Ahram Online; Reem Abou-el-Fadl, a research fellow at the University of Oxford; and Adel Iskandar, a media scholar at Georgetown University.
Our feature focuses on the closure of Egypt Independent, Egypt’s first independent English-language weekly. Was it a case of financial pressure as its owners insisted or was it – as its staff suspect – a sign of the danger of pushing political boundaries? The Listening Post’s Flo Phillips takes a closer look.
Egypt also provides our online video of this week: Bassem Youssef’s wry take on the Egyptian news has won him as many admirers as enemies – one of the most famous of the former is his mentor from the United States, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, who joins his self-professed ‘brother-in-laughs’ on a special edition of his weekly show, Al Bernameg.
Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.
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