Egyptians’ Tax Money Spent on Improving Image of Egypt’s Regime

Egyptians’ Tax Money Spent on Improving Image of Egypt’s Regime

 With parliamentary elections just round the corner and the presidential elections to follow in 2011 the Egyptian government has embarked on a quest to improve its image. It’s latest stint at photoshop where the state-run al-Ahram newspaper posted a picture falsely suggesting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak  leading the talks during the peace talks between Israel and Palestine in Washington has done much to worsen Egypt’s regime’s already tarnished image.
 
As a result of this and other scandals including torture in prisons and repression against activists and political opposition mainly from the popular and influential Muslim Brotherhood the government hired the major U.K. public relations firm Bell Pottinger to better deliver its message to an international audience and polish up the act.

According to Human Rights Watch researcher on Egypt and Libya, Heba Morayef the Egyptian government knows that the world will be closely watching Egypt at this time and that it is expected that there will many human rights violations in this election year.
 
A Bell Pottinger representative however denies that the hiring has anything to do with polishing up the regime ahead of the 2011 presidential elections where many expect Gamal Mubarak to "inherit" power from his father. She explained that the firm has been appointed simply to review the ways in which the government communicates with the international media and to offer advice on how to get the government’s messages better understood internationally.
 
She argued that in fact although Egypt faces some serious problems the government has made progress in recent years such as introducing political and economic reforms and this has not always been properly communicated to the world at large.Egypt is also known to be a client in other lobbying firms in Washington including The Livingston group which lists Egypt as a client on their website.
 
Instead of achieving real progress on the ground aging rulers have chosen to seek the help of PR firms to improve on their country’s image understanding that democracy and fair elections would probably put their rule at risk. To them cosmetic changes are quicker and easier than legitimate political reforms.
The regime has unwisely directed the Egyptians’ tax money which should be going to hospitals, roads and schools, to establishing huge state security apparatuses in an effort to hinder all attempts and demands for change by political opposition and activists. Money is also spent on funding media outlets that are becoming increasingly unpopular, and to PR and lobbying firms to convince the West that some progress is actually happening.