Egypt Media Roundup – Mar 18, 2014


Legal & Political Institutions

Egypt’s military chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reshuffled top regional army posts on Monday, including the heads of Egypt’s second army and Egypt’s southern military zone. [Ahram, Mada Masr, AP] Read More..

Gender & Sexuality

A female student at Cairo University was sexually attacked by tens of her colleagues from the law faculty for wearing black trousers and a pink sweater on campus, an outfit that the university’s head has referred to as a “mistake.” The woman was surrounded by the group of male students who verbally and physically assaulted her, in addition to trying to strip off her clothes, according to a statement released on Monday by the anti-sexual harassment campaign “I Witnessed Harassment.” She then ran to the bathroom and hid until security personnel came to escort her from the campus. [Ahram, Daily News EgyptRead More..

Security Sector

A little-known militant group that recently surfaced in Egypt says it has killed more than two dozen policemen and soldiers in attacks in three provinces. The al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar al-Shariah Brigades claims it was behind the slayings of 26 Egyptian troops in what it describes as “the first phase of a campaign to punish traitors.” [AP, The Guardian

Marginalized Groups

Egyptian authorities raided a conference of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy in Cairo’s Garden City on Tuesday and held the attendees, Essam al-Sawy, from the Building and Development Party, told Aswat Masriya. The conference was meant to discuss the dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in which was held in August in support of ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood. [Vagazette, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr

Rights & Freedoms

Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, says he “will spare no effort” to quickly resolve the case of jailed Australian journalist Peter Greste. Mansour, who is also head of the country’s constitutional court, has written a letter in response to one sent by the Al-Jazeera journalist’s parents, Lois and Juris Greste. Greste is facing up to seven years in jail after being accused of backing the black-listed Muslim Brotherhood and portraying Egypt in a state of “civil war”. Mansour wrote: “Notwithstanding the independence of the judiciary authority and foremost all the rights guaranteed by the law, I would like to assure you in my capacity as president of Egypt that I will spare no effort to work towards the speedy resolution of the case in a fashion consistent with the law and that guarantees the resumption of the family in the near future.” [The Guardian, Daily News EgyptRead More..


Vodafone will invest LE9 billion ($1.2 billion) in Egypt by 2017 to create more than 3,000 job opportunities, Serpil Timuray, Vodafone’s regional CEO for Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific Region told Al-Ahram daily in an interview published on Monday. [AhramRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

Key lawmakers of both parties are warning the Obama administration of serious consequences if it resumes aid to Egypt’s military government, including Apache attack helicopters needed to fight al-Qaeda-inspired Islamists in the Sinai. Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress last week that the State Department would make a decision “in the days ahead” and made it clear that his “hope” was to reopen the aid spigot before Egyptian presidential elections that could take place as soon as next month. [Al Monitor


Legal & Political Institutions

Police officer involved in police van asphyxiation deaths was sentenced to 10 years in jail

Ahram: UPDATED: Egypt court sentences police officer in prison van death case to 10 years in jail

Reuters: Egyptian court jails policeman linked to Islamist deaths

Daily News Egypt:One policeman sentenced to 10 years in Abu Zaabal Vehicle case

In this article: “An Egyptian misdemeanours court sentenced a police officer to 10 years in jail on charges of manslaughter and wounding in relation to the death of 37 detainees in a police van in August. The court also sentenced three other police officers to suspended sentences of one year each on the same charges. The head of the police station, Amr Farouk, and the three other officers, Ibrahim Mohamed El-Morsi, Islam Abdel-Fattah Helmi, and Mohamed Yahia Abdel-Aziz, all worked at Masr El-Gedida police station in north-eastern Cairo.

On 18 August, 37 people — described by the interior ministry as being supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi who had been arrested at protests — died of asphyxiation due to teargas and overcrowding while they were being transferred to Abu Zabaal prison in Cairo in a police van.”

Mahmoud Salem writes on Egypt’s feloul biding their time to return to political leadership

Al Monitor: Egypt’s old regime backs Sisi for now

In this article: “The feloul want the military out of politics and Egypt’s political leadership forever, a role they view as rightfully theirs. They want the military and the security apparatus to do the bidding of the political leadership, and not the other way around. They also understand that they cannot attack the military outright at the height of its popularity without losing the Egyptian centrist bloc and getting accused of being power-hungry traitors.

So, they have resorted to a very simple strategy: They publicly aligned themselves politically with the military, wrapped themselves in the flag, accused everyone else of being unpatriotic and heavily promoted the Sisi presidency. This way the feloul get political credit that they can later use against Sisi the moment the population realizes that he cannot meet its expectations, even with the military’s resources at his disposal. Once the population turns on Sisi, thefeloul will utilize public pressure to force the military to leave power forever. Given that the military cannot risk handing over power to either the revolutionaries or the Islamists, this leaves the feloul the only viable and logical option left. Check and mate.”

Gender & Sexuality

Opinion: restructuring the discourse on women’s liberation in the context of culture and religion in the MENA region

Al Jazeera: On women’s liberation Who is to decide how women should be liberated today?

In this article: “When it comes to women’s rights in Muslim majority states, the resultant feminist activism should provoke the question as to whether liberty is a singularly conceived universal truth. The fundamental issue at hand is the extremely problematic association of culture and religion with the idea of liberation.

A chador-donning woman is thought of as nothing but a repressed being in a man’s world – her liberation may only occur if she throws off that black cloth. This seems to be the view from here – from the policy centres of the US. Our standards, or in other words, our metrics for assessing women’s empowerment, are in need of a thorough review.

The outcome of the current approach, which is highly subjective, is that the difference between modernisation and westernisation is lost on most of these conversations. The underlying assumption of this debate, as highlighted earlier, is the existence of a universally recognised conception of women’s liberty. But the reality is that no such thing exists in either the US or in Egypt or any other society for that matter.”

Declaration on Women’s Rights in Islam launched by Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam and others at conference on Women’s Issues and Contemporary Islamic Diligence

CairoPost: Alexandria Declaration of Women Rights in Islam launched

In this article: “ The conference on Women Issues and Contemporary Islamic Diligence, which was held in Bibliotheca Alexandrina over two days, concluded its proceedings on Sunday with the launch of the Alexandria Declaration on “Women’s Rights in Islam” after participants discussed the legitimate rights of women from the Islamic perspective.

The declaration is based on the principles of Islamic Sharia and jurisprudence, and it is the result of discussions held at the Al-Azhar Al-Sharif over the years 2012 and 2013 which included a number of Egyptian feminist icons and representatives of NGOs concerned with women’s rights.

The declaration highlighted the basic and common principles of political, economic, social and cultural rights and stated that they should be applied to all women issues in Muslim communities, rejecting the exploitation of women in political conflicts and emphasizing the moderate values of the Islamic culture.

The Alexandria declaration addressed women’s rights and responsibilities, through several areas including for instance: the human and social value of women, legal personality of women, women and family, women and education, women and work, women and personal security, and women and social work.

The declaration indicates that the status of women in Islam is based on equality with men, as a human being and as a member in the society.”

“Look me in the Eye” anti-harassment campaign launched in Minya

Aswat Masriya: Youth in south Egypt launch anti-harassment campaign

The Daily Star Lebanon: New case of sexual harassment in Egypt sparks outrage  

In this article: “A group of young Egyptians launched a campaign against sexual harassment in the city of Minya, South of Cairo, on Monday to mark the national day for women.

Under the slogan “Look me in the eye”, Ayun al-Fonoon launched the campaign in collaboration with the anti-harassment operation and other groups concerned, to raise awareness on the subject. “

Following sexual attack on Cairo University student, CU president claims attackers will be punished despite the victim’s “mistake” in dressing inappropriately

Daily News Egypt: “Out of the ordinary attire” will not be allowed on campus: Cairo University president

In this article: “The outfit of the girl who was sexually attacked inside Cairo University was a little out of the ordinary but that does not justify the behaviour of attackers, said Cairo University President Gaber Nassar in a phone interview.

Speaking to private channel ONTV, Nassar said that the female student who was assaulted by dozens of fellow students was in fact wearing an abaya, a full length garment covering the entire body, when she entered through the university gates but she took it off inside.

“The mistake of the female student does not justify what happened from the other students,” he said.

Nassar said the university has no uniform but clothes must conform to the customs and traditions of society.

“University security does not allow students to enter the university in clothes that are out of the ordinary,” Nassar said, adding that if a student is wearing such attire, security asks them to go home and change their clothes.

Anti-sexual violence group I Saw Harassment (Shoft Taharosh) said the woman was physically and verbally assaulted and had to be escorted off campus by security officials. During and after the incident, the perpetrators reportedly filmed the victim with their mobile phones. The incident occurred outside the Faculty of Law.”

Rights & Freedoms

Egypt’s media is divided–loyalties are unclear, and the situation is dangerous for journalists

DW: Egypt’s media landscape not black and white

In this article: “Recently, international attention has been attracted by the trial of 20 journalists, mostly from the Al Jazeera network, who were arrested on December 29, 2013, and charged with a litany of offenses from smearing Egypt’s reputation abroad to aiding terrorists. They have been kept in desperately inhumane conditions

The case provoked a major campaign from international human rights groups last week, but the protests in Egypt were more muted, and not only because of the heavy crackdown on journalists in the country. Egyptians, it turns out, have a different view of Al Jazeera than their foreign colleagues. “As a media person, I would say for sure Al Jazeera are aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood,” said ON-TV’s Haitham Sawy. “There’s no doubt about it.”

Even journalists openly critical of the current Egyptian government and the impending presidency of Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi criticized Al Jazeera’s coverage following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi. The Qatari-based channel – especially its Arabic network and its Egyptian offshoot, which has been banned – is dismissed by many in Egypt (and in many Gulf States) as a stooge to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered responsible for terrorist attacks.”


Egypt’s new open software strategy will seek to capitalize on human capital in Egypt’s tech development market

Mada Masr: Open software becomes a national strategy in Egypt

In this article: “The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology issued a national strategy for the adoption of open source software this week.

The strategy marks the Egyptian government’s blessing of a market now ready for open source software, and not limited to the competitive and often monopolizing closed-source proprietary software. Unlike proprietary software, the source code of open software is available for distribution and development by users and developers alike.

The national strategy was informed by a committee of academics and civil society groups as well as representatives of entities affiliated with the ministry.

“This is a good example of academic research supporting policy,” said Nagla Rizk, professor of economics specialized in economies of knowledge, who drafted the strategy. Rizk worked with a team of researchers at the American University in Cairo’s Access to Knowledge for Development Centre, which she leads, on providing pertinent research that informed the strategy she drafted.”