Howeidi Reveals Treachery Behind Independent Newspapers’ Anti-Brotherhood Campaign
The renowned writer Fahmi Howeidi, in an article published in Shorouk newspaper under the title ‘A Profession in Jeopardy’, revealed insider secrets of so-called independent newspapers, as many journalists told him they suffer constant pressure from superiors to shun neutral, professional journalism.
Howeidi said, "Journalists are instructed by their superiors to deliberately slander and vilify the Brotherhood, its leaders and members, always casting them as the aggressors, repeatedly claiming illegitimacy of the President, and invalidity of the Public Prosecutor appointment, constantly suggesting invalidity of the Constituent Assembly, saying that the Constitution was exclusively drawn up by one faction, exaggerating the scale of provincial demonstrations, accusing the Brotherhood of a power grab and taking hold of key positions of the state, persistently highlighting claims that the Brotherhood persecutes Copts and hates and disrespects women, urgently pressing that there is a crisis between the presidency and the army, and demanding that the army descend onto the streets and take over power.
"Journalists say they are also instructed to repeatedly allege that there is a crisis between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis, to accuse Hamas of plotting against Egypt and preparing to sabotage public facilities across the country, to insist that Gaza tunnels represent a mortal threat to Egypt and that they are a channel of arms smuggling, to insist that Hamas is responsible for the killing of 16 Egyptian officers and soldiers in Rafah, to polish the image of the opposition umbrella National Salvation Front leaders, and to boycott Brotherhood leaders, as well as many other practices that take news reporting deep into the realms of politics and partisan action, so as to mobilize the reader in favor of a certain party and against another."
Howeidi further said: "Honorable journalists tried to convince their superiors of the importance of balance and neutrality in the presentation of news stories, but in vain. One chief-editors’ response was that neutrality is not possible in the current confrontation, and that such thinking is too idealistic – can only be tolerated in other countries, in other circumstances.
"Needless to say, this regrettably means the professional destruction of generations of interns who join newspapers in the hope of future employment, because they are always the fastest to respond to such pressures and instructions in order to keep bosses happy and get permanent jobs in the newspapers."
Howeidi concluded his article by saying, "This plight does not befall only new generations of journalists, it in fact threatens the whole profession in a country currently surrounded by dangers from every direction – its revolution’s dreams seem to go farther and farther in the distance by the passage of every day."