In some ways Egypt has come full circle since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011. After a year at the top of the political pyramid, the Muslim Brotherhood – which was outlawed for decades before the fall of the country’s former president Hosni Mubarak – has once again been driven underground.
The atmosphere for journalists at the moment here is rather like in America after 9/11.
Labelled as terrorists, dozens of leaders, as well as rank and file, have now been arrested and mention of the organisation in the media has been all but buried.
Pursuit of the Brotherhood even took a turn for the surreal when a hand puppet from a Vodaphone advertising campaign had to defend itself on Egyptian air over accusations that it was passing on coded messages to the banned organisation.
And while both state-run and private media have marched in line, one network has looked increasingly isolated. Unwillingness to erase the Brotherhood from its coverage has led to the arrest of five journalists who work for the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera network. The revolution that began in “Liberation Square” seems only to have begotten a new era of media repression.
Discussing the latest developments in Egypt’s media are: Hugh Miles, the author of Revolution in the Arab World; Sharif Koddous, the correspondent for Democracy Now; Adel Iskander, the author of Egypt in Flux; and Sahar Khamis, a media scholar from the University of Maryland.
Our newsbytes this week: In Turkey, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is struggling to contain the media fallout from a spiralling corruption scandal; a Pakistani reporter is the first journalist to be killed in 2014; journalists in Myanmar protest a colleague’s prison sentence; and media freedom campaigners call for the release of a photojournalist in Bahrain.
This week’s feature looks at the changing economics of the newsroom that have put photographers first in the firing line when it comes to job cuts. Some say reporters with smartphones are more than capable of filling the gap but consider what a newspaper or magazine would look like without the wow-factor of professional photography?
Listening Post‘s Nic Muirhead reports on citizen-generated news imagery and the career-ending implications for professional photojournalists.
And to underline the importance of images in our lives, our Web Video of the Week offers a last look at 2013 through the lenses of the Reuters global network of photographers. How many shots from this breathtaking musical montage do you think were taken on an iPhone?
Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.
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