As violence escalates in Egypt, confusion reigns supreme in politics, in economics and even in media. Among the concerns: a media clampdown by security forces reportedly trying to muzzle Al Jazeera coverage in Cairo, following the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi by the military.
Those concerns may not be justified.
On Monday journos for the pan-Arab satcaster were kicked out of a news conference being held by Egypt’s military about the killing of at least 54 people, most of them supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, the Associated Press reported.
Qatar-based Al Jazeera is founded by the Gulf nation’s ruling family which is a strong supporter of Morsi. The station broadcast graphic images of those killed and wounded in the violence Monday outside a military compound.
Since the military have been in power, Al Jazeera has seen security forces storm into its Cairo bureau twice and three staffers have been briefly detained.
“We are concerned by reports that authorities are shutting down television coverage based on political perspective,” Sherif Mansour of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists was quoted as saying on Al Jazeera’s website.
There is no doubt that its coverage is being perceived as pro-Morsi, perhaps with reason.
Dubai-based English-language Gulf News reports that 22 Al Jazeera Cairo-based staffers resigned Monday in protest against what anchor Karem Mahmoud called “biased coverage” of the events unfolding in Egypt.
Mahmoud told Gulf News that the resignations were caused by a lack of commitment and Al Jazeera professionalism in Egypt coverage, adding that “the management in Doha provokes sedition among the Egyptian people.”
Al Jazeera did not respond to requests for comment on Monday regarding its tensions with Egyptian security forces.