Rampant media campaign against human rights organizations: Are the Egyptian authorities paving the way for escalating their oppression of human rights defenders?
Over the past few days, a large number of official institutions and various Egyptian media have launched a massive propaganda campaign against human rights organizations, saying they are instigating the public against the political system in addition to cooperating with and defending the Muslim Brotherhood (classified under the current Egyptian government as a terrorist group) against the backdrop of September 20 protests. These accusations are very close to the content of accusations made against human rights lawyer Mohammed al-Baker during his interrogation at the State Security Prosecution on September 29, 2019 pending state security case 1356/2019, days after Al-Dustour newspaper published a news report in which the Adalah Center, runned by al-Baker, was mentioned. He was accused of supporting the Brotherhood through his work in human rights, which threatens, if the line is extended, all other Egyptian human rights organizations and their workers to facing a similar fate.
The Egyptian authorities have taken a number of arbitrary measures against hundreds of Egyptian citizens in the wake of the September 20 protests which have demanded the departure of President Sisi. At least 2000 people have been arrested during those days, in addition to activists in political movements and parties, which was documented by Egyptian human rights organizations, who assumed this task in light of the intensity of these violations and the lack of human resources, as a result of successive security campaigns against them since July 2013, which made monitoring the names of detainees the main source of information for their families. In light of the absence of any official information on the numbers, full names and places of detention of persons arrested by the authorities, including judicial bodies.
Human rights organizations also played another important role during this period, which is that of providing legal support to those arrested and brought before the investigating authorities, as well as tracking and documenting patterns of violations by the authorities against the right to demonstrate, peaceful assembly and the right to express opinions, which the authorities saw as incitement against them, and empowering the demonstrators against their policies, which prompted them to target a number of human rights lawyers such as al-Baker and Mahinour Masri, in addition to launching campaigns of defamation and treason against the rest.
According to an analysis carried out by the Egyptian Front of 27 statements, announcements, news and videos on television programs in the past few days, starting from September 25 until the early hours of October 2, 2019, a torrent of charges against Egyptian and international human rights organizations was monitored by a wide range of journalists affiliated with various state institutions, in varying outlets such as print, visual and electronic media. Adopting the policies of stigmatization and moral assassination through direct accusations of treason and espinage of these organizations and their managers in Egypt, some of them are on travel bans and are not allowed the disposition of their money, on top of which are Khaled Ali, founder of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, Gamal Eid, director of the Arab Network for Human Rights and journalist Hossam Bahgat, founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, adding to that the harsh criticism of statements made by international organizations by official institutions on Recent events through accusation of politicization.
According to an analysis of the media material during this period, the accusations made by these journalists against human rights organizations and their workers centered on; accusing them of incitement against the regime and state institutions, defending the Muslim Brotherhood and cooperating with them to demolish the state, inciting youth to demonstrate and support them, and spreading rumors to create a state of chaos, in addition to accusing them of financial corruption and personal gain, as well as accusing them of treason and espionage for foreign countries, one of the media outlets also demanded the depreviation of the Egyptian nationality for Bahey El-Din Hassan, director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.
In another significant escalation, the official institutions, through the State Information Service of the Presidency directing various media outlets, led a campaign against Amnesty International. As it published two consecutive responses to statements issued by Amnesty on its evaluation of the authorities’ handling of the demonstrations in Egypt, where they described the organization as biased and lacking objectivity and adoptive of political speeches. The head of the Human Rights Committee in the parliament attacked Amnesty saying that it was interfering in the Egyptian internal affairs, inciting and supporting demonstrations and that it provides political cover for the Muslim Brotherhood. Asharq al-Awsat government newspaper described this “controversy” as a model of the new strategy of the Egyptian government, through the rapid response to criticism of international human rights organizations.
The Egyptian Front believes that this rampant campaign by official and non-official media against human rights and international organizations is not far from the executive authorities or the security services, if not under direct orders from them, parallel to official reactions by entities such as the State Information Service and the House of Representatives. Journalists and media workers launched the same media campaign using the same terms and accusations, such as providing political cover and incitement against the state, through readable and audible media platforms, whether affiliated with official institutions such as Akhbar Al-Youm or the Middle East News Agency or institutions affiliated with businessmen close to the regime such as Sada el-Balad website and channel, or institutions affiliated with the “Egyptian media” company affiliated with the General Intelligence Agency such as Al-Dustour newspaper or channels such as DMC or ON TV, and others, which have been established by observers, that the security services draw their media policies and control all media materials published in them.
Another manifestation of the relationship between the executive authorities and the security services to this media campaign is the fact that the press is composed of the same terminology that can only be described as security terms par excellence, which are usually used by security services in their investigation records against the defendants.
Examples of these terms: (anti-political system – incitement against state institutions – raising rumors and sedition – serving the plans of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood – spreading confusion – the use of motivational words towards anarchy and irritation of public opinion), which is an indicator of what the written investigations in cases catered against human rights defenders, especially the state secrutiy case 1359/2019.
Contrary to the expected role of the press and the media as a fourth authority, that should be highlighting the problems and monitoring the performance of various authorities, through using professional and objective means. However, the Egyptian media and journalists, by virtue of the control of the security services on a large number of media institutions and the high cost of going against the flow, they preferred to step away from these roles and settled for being a propaganda trumpet and tool in the hands of the executive power. They are in the service of sending the required media messages to the public and used to target the critics of government policies, after being accused of being driven by private interests and goals, in a paradox with the fact that a large number of these media outlets are already acting in accordance with directive orders from the security services.
The Egyptian Front believes that the menace of these media campaigns stems from their indication that the security services are preparing the public for more possible arrests of human rights defenders and human rights organizations in Egypt, through the first step of distorting their image in front of the public. Opposition and human rights defenders, the last of which is the lawyer Mohammad al-Baqer, who was arrested just four days after the publication of a report accusing the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms, which he runs of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, and imprisoning him on grounds of a state security case after being accused of publishing false news and joining and financing a terrorist group. It puts all human rights organizations, especially those inside Egypt, under serious threat, as this media campaign against them continues to escalate.
An outlook at the main official statements, announcements, news and television programs that attacked human rights organizations and defenders during the past few days (25 September – 2 October 2019)
|News Date||Newspaper/ Channel||Journalist/Media person||Targeted Organization||Targeted Person||News Headline||News
|1||September 30||Akhbar ElYoum||Egyptian Center for Social and Political Rights||Khaled Ali||Khaled Ali .. from «flagrant act» to support «terrorist Brotherhood»||https://bit.ly/2owKWQx|
|2||September 30||Baladana ElYoum||Egyptian Center for Social and Political Rights||Khaled Ali||Harasser Lawyer Defends the Brotherhood||https://bit.ly/2pjwJqk|
|3||September 30||ElFagr||Egyptian Center for Social and Political Rights||Khaled Ali||5 mistakes for Khaled Ali, the Brotherhood’s man||https://www.elfagr.com/3734991
|4||September 30||Sada ElBalad||Mostafa Ramah||Egyptian Center for Social and Political Rights||Khaled Ali||Not new to him .. Khaled Ali supports the terrorist group and incites protests||https://www.elbalad.news/4000816|
|5||September 30||AlShoura||Egyptian Center for Social and Political Rights||Khaled Ali||Khaled Ali’s sins extend to high treason and bowing to the Brotherhood||https://www.alshouranews.com/1712526|
|6||September 30||Baladana ElYoum||Khaled Ali||Khaled Ali, the king of foreign funds for Human Rights Organizations||https://bit.ly/2pmnENv
|7||September 30||AlArabia News||Egyptian Center for Social and Political Rights||Khaled Ali||Khaled Ali receives foreign funds to create chaos in Egypt||http://www.alarabyanews.com/330431|
|8||October 1||AlNahar Channel||Tamer Amin||Egyptian Center for Social and Political Rights||Khaled Ali||Khaled Ali reveals his true face and his relationship with the terrorist brotherhood “the end of the day”||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vy7sjADuaUw|
|9||September 30||Ten TV||Nashaat ElDehi||Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights||Hossam Bahgat||ElDehi Sarcastically: Hossam Bahgat is for “Excuse me”||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAksKoKI31E|
|Mohamed ElBaz||Egyptian Initiative – Arabic Network – Human Rights Monitor||Hossam Bahgat – Gamal Eid – Salma Ashraf||90 minutes: Reveals the list of financiers in Egypt from Alkarama Qatari Center||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXPU3cMEf0I|
|11||September 25||AlDostour||Mohamed El Sherif – Mohamed Gaafar||Adalah – Beladi – Regional – International Center for Transitional Justice – Egyptian Center – Human Rights Monitor – Shehab – Arab Reform Foundation||“The shops of the Muslim Brotherhood” .. AlDostour reveals the list of organizations that support terrorist groups through the gate of human rights work||https://www.dostor.org/2844243|
|12||September 27||AlDostour||Mohamed El Sherif||Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies- Nadim – Arab Network – Front – My – Freedom Initiative||“Humanatiran dens” supports the terrorist group’s plot||https://www.dostor.org/2846855|
|AlDostour||Islam Abu ElMagd||Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egyptian Coalition for Child Rights, Egyptian Association for the Advancement of Social Participation, Human Rights Association for the Assistance of Prisoners, Arab Network for Human Rights Information, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Legal Aid Group for Human Rights, Land Center for Human Rights, Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, Andalus Center for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies, Hisham Mubarak Law Center, Center for Appropriate Communication for Development, Egyptians Against Religious Excellence, Arab Organization for Penal Reform, New Women’s Foundation, and Foundation The Egyptian Association for the Advancement of Childhood, the Foundation for Freedom of Thought and Expression, the Egyptian Women’s Issues Foundation, and Nazra for Feminist Studies.||Amr Farouk: 19 human rights organizations run the battle of treason against Egypt||https://www.dostor.org/2852678|
|14||October 1||AlSharq AlAwsat||Mohamed Abdo Hassanien||Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch||Egyptian strategy in the face of human rights organizations used to criticize Cairo||https://bit.ly/2pooppp|
|15||September 29||OnTV||Wael ElEbrashi||Amnesty International||– The suspicious role of some international human rights organizations in distorting the image of Egypt||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS5qqrVXwQg|
|16||September 30||Information General Association||Amnesty International||Amnesty International leaves human rights and drowns into politics||https://bit.ly/2n1oMWa
|17||September 28||Information General Association||Amnesty International||Amnesty International’s accusations against Egypt are biased and have nothing to do with human rights||https://bit.ly/2ntFcGI
|18||September 29||AlYoum AlSabea||Alaa Abed, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the House of Representatives||Amnesty International||Alaa Abed accusing Amnesty of being biased towards the Brotherhood: it has lost credibility||http://www.youm7.com/4437062
|19||October 2||Extra News||Amnesty International||Video | Amnesty International incites Egyptians to demonstrate||https://bit.ly/2nSW4Hd
|20||September 26||AlHayah Channel||Amnesty International – Human Rights Watch||Suspected human rights organizations .. Dirty role in supporting terrorist groups and incitement against the state||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5Vv0ByWsHY|
|21||October 1||Ten TV||Nashaat ElDehi||Gamal Eid||Nashat ElDehi announces his retirement from media work if Gamal Eid justifies his wealth||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNwugwnA_pg|
|22||October 1||Ten TV||Nashaat ElDehi||Bahy ElDin Hassan||Bahey El-Din Hassan is immoral and must be forfeited Egyptian nationality and tried for high treason||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUbiqPFfyvA|
|23||September 28||Ten TV||Nashaat ElDehi||Amnesty International||In response to an inflammatory campaign by foreign institutions against Egypt||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7dwlDS5OIw|
|24||September 30||AlHayah Channel||Khaled Abu Bakr||Human Rights Watch – Amnesty International||Khaled Abu Bakr Unveils New Information on Human Rights Watch||https://www.elfagr.com/3735011|
|25||September 29||DMC Channel||Human Rights Watch – Amnesty International||Human Rights Watch lost credibility and defended Brotherhood wrongfully||https://bit.ly/2pgz7hw|
|26||September 30||DMC Channel||Amnesty International||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrBf8gXIP-A|
|27||September 30||Sada Elbalad Channel||Ahmed Mous||Amnesty International||My responsibility – Ahmed Moussa: «Amnesty International defends terrorists»||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0F5G7zgMOk|