- Election CoverageHuman Rights
- March 15, 2008
- 8 minutes read
Will Targeting Media Leaders Silence the Muslim Brotherhood?
The Egyptian regime”s security crackdowns against the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has recently aggravated in the run up to the municipal elections scheduled to be held next April, 8th. However, these crackdowns got even more aggravated after Egyptian security services targeted media leaders and figures.
The security campaign started with arresting Khaled Hamza, the editor-in-chief of Ikhwanweb.com, the Muslim Brotherhood”s official English web site, and then Dr. Gamal Nassar, the media adviser of the Muslim Brotherhood chairman and a former editor-in-chief Ikhwanonline.com, who was behind bars four months ago, plus the attempted detention of the editor-in-chief of the MB”s Arabic official web site, Abdul Galil Al Sharnoubi .
This ongoing campaign- some see as natural under an autocratic regime that seeks to eliminate all opposition powers- raises a very important question: Whether the Egyptian regime will manage to silence the Muslim Brotherhood or prone the group”s media flexing through rounding up its media figures.
Targeting Brotherhood has never stopped, Farewell to “only one media channel”
Adel Al Ansari, a journalist and manager of Shorouk Press, confirmed to Ikhwanweb that targeting MB media figures has never ceased. He pointed out that the regime doesn”t want to abandon this method.
Al Ansari added that” The municipal elections are local, unlike the People”s Assembly elections and the Shura Council elections. I can say that covering such elections does not need huge media institutions. It only requires some local individuals who can contact foreign and local media. Thanks to the current media openness with the world, everyone can report all government violations without any need for any media leaders”.
“We are not in the age Sawt Al- Arab (Voice of Arabs, the only radio channel in the 1960s). There are so many media outlets that can expose government violations. Every one can create his own media and we can say that every one is in himself a media outlet”, he said.
Attempts to silence MB doomed to fail
Essam El-Erian, a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood and chairman of its political section, confirmed that all Egyptian people notice the violations committed by the security services against the group. So, this campaign will never succeed, and they never manage to silence the Muslim Brotherhood. El Erian attributes these violations to a retaliatory reaction because the Muslim Brotherhood managed to expose the exercises committed by the regime. The regime thinks that it can stop this exposing through detaining some MB media leaders, but facts on the ground prove that this will never succeed.
Asked by Ikhwanweb about the mtive behind this campaign carried out by the regime although this regime can rig election on the elections day under the judicial supervision, El Eria answered:” This proves the lack of logic and the regime also sends a message to all Egyptian people that it is no use to call for reform. However, all this will never manage to break the will of the Egyptian people”.
Attempted blackout on political situations in Egypt in general
“It is an attempt to black out the political situations in Egypt in general” said Amr Al Shobaki, a researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, to Ikhwanweb, describing this crackdown targets MB media leaders. He confirmed that these harassments are committed against all independent newspapers, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood media outlets. Al Shobaki attributes these harassments to the regime”s desire to stop the successes of the media campaigns carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood to expose the military trials and violations in the run-up to the municipal elections. This success was evident in the Ikhwanweb.com which was described by Al-Shobaki as marked by high professionalism and it that it has a a great effect on changing the group”s image outside Egypt .
Al Shobaki sees also that it is impossible to silence this voice for many reasons, the most prominent of which are the current events themselves. The regime refers civilians to military trials and carries out sweeps of arrest and must accordingly expect media outlets to expose these violations.
Al Shobaki expected also that the escalation may continue against the Muslim Brotherhood and harassments against MB media figures and leaders may continue, but he confirmed that these MB institutions don”t mainly rely on specific persons whatever their weight. These initiations are working as institutions and they still have a huge effect.
“The Egyptian regime shows through these attempts that it insists on eliminating any possible rival in the Municipal elections”, he added.
Repression can”t change ideas, Expecting worst from regime “reasonable”
“No repression can change ideas. Repressive regimes always think that repression can end thought but history denies this”, said Gamal Fahmi, a journalist at the Egyptian Al-Arabi weekly Newspaper, to Ikhwanweb. He saw that this sentence outlines the Egyptian regime”s status in detaining and hunting opposition figures. He also described as “stupid” such regimes, like the Egyptian regime, in dealing in such a method with opposition, because they never learn from experiences.
Asked how far the Muslim Brotherhood media will be affected while these media leaders are rounded up, Gamal Fahmi confirmed that he does not expect that they have been hurt because these institutions work in a systematic method unhurt by violations. He also saw that the Muslim brotherhood always has substitutes to face such violations.
Fahmi added that the Egyptian regime resorts to these violations under the absence of the judiciary because of the state of fear it experiences. This definitely does not reflect strength. It reflects severe weakness and fear. The regime tries to rig even before the Election Day comes. “Always expect the worst from this regime”, he said.
Brotherhood Sticks to all peaceful means to take part in political game
Asem Shalabi, a member of the Arab Publishers Union and a Muslim Brotherhood leader, sees that the municipal elections are mainly a media battle. Thus, the Egyptian regime wants to silence the MB”s media voice.
Shalabi confirmed to Ikhwanweb that the Muslim Brotherhood works in an institutional way which does not depend on individuals. He also added that he hasn”t spotted any chaos in the Muslim Brotherhood media work. He only noticed that these media outlets were working even more efficiently, and that this targeting give cabces to the emergence of other media leaders to replace the detained ones.
Asked why the Egyptian regime is carrying out such measures, Asem Shalabi confirmed that the regime tries through these detentions to curb the gains of the opposition, topped by the Muslim Brotherhood. He added that exposing the regime is an important part of the Muslim Brotherhood”s media mission in the elections. All the world has been got to know that the regime”s alleged reform is only a deceit.
Around increasing government violations against the Muslim Brotherhood, Shalabi attributed this to the fact that the Municipal elections has so many seats and draw many candidates. This accordingly increases the number of violations of the regime who tries to prevent so many people from competing with it.
At the end of his interview, Asem Shalabi confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood the election day whatever the violations. He also confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood sticks to all peaceful means in the political game.