Egypt Media Roundup – Mar 21, 2014


Legal & Political Institutions

The secretary general of the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC), Hamdan Fahmy, stated that the reasons behind the delay of the presidential elections were technical and are not attributed to waiting for a specific presidential candidate. [AhramRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

A year ago, Egyptian politician and women’s rights activist Mervat Tallawy defied the Muslim Brotherhood to spearhead the adoption of a U.N. blueprint to combat violence against women. Now she’s back campaigning against conservatives to ensure that equality for women remains at the top of the U.N. agenda. [AhramRead More..

Security Sector

Egyptian media say masked gunmen set fire to a garage with trucks carrying cooking gas cylinders in a town southwest of Cairo. The state news agency MENA says the firefighters were able to get the blaze under control early Friday in the town of al-Barageel.

The private CBC television says the attackers first tied the guard up outside the garage, poured gasoline on the trucks and then set them ablaze. It says two people were injured. [AP, ABCRead More..

Marginalized Groups

Cairo University expelled 23 students accused of clashes and of hoisting the al-Qaeda flag during demonstrations called by the Muslim Brotherhood last Wednesday in the Egyptian capital, university sources told ANSA. [AnsaMedRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

Activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was removed from his cell in Tora Prison on Wednesday evening, with his family left unaware of his whereabouts. Last week Abd El Fattah and 24 co-defendants were referred to stand trial on Sunday at the Institute for Police in Tora on charges of illegal protest. [Mada MasrRead More..


Revenues from Egypt’s vital waterway Suez Canal, one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, are expected to reach $5.5 billion in the current fiscal year, the head of the authority that manages the waterway said on Thursday. Suez Canal Authority chief Mohab Memish said this would be a record high. [AhramRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

Interim President Adly Mansour said that the security of Gulf area is one of Egypt’s national security priorities, and that Egypt was fighting the war on terrorism on behalf of the Middle East region. [Ahram


Legal & Political Institutions

Egypt PM and cabinet met to discuss Egypt’s security crisis

Aswat Masriya: Egypt: Prime Minister – Egypt Will Win the War Against Terrorism

Egypt SIS: PM: Egypt will never forget sacrifices of its valorous men

In this article: “Egypt will “win the war against the powers of darkness and terrorism with its heroic men and the people’s support for army and police forces”, said Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mahlab on Thursday.

The cabinet convened earlier today to discuss the current security status. The meeting began with a minute of silence for two armed forces personnel who were killed on Wednesday morning during a security crackdown.

“Egypt will not forget the sacrifices of its courageous army and police forces,” the cabinet said in a statement.”

Sabbahi speaking out against Sisi: blaming the Field Marshal for errors committed by transitional authorities during Morsi-ouster

Egypt Independent: Sabbahi: Sisi partially responsible for transitional govt errors

In this article: “Former presidential candidate and Popular Current founder Hamdeen Sabbahi suggested Thursday that Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is partially responsible for errors committed by transitional authorities that ousted Mohamed Morsy last year.

Sabbahi, who came third in the 2012 presidential race, and is the only outright contender for Sisi in the 2014 race, told satellite channel CBC that “the current authorities have made several errors in relation to security and freedoms, and Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is the deputy prime minister and surely plays a part in decision-making.”

Concerning the upcoming presidential elections, Sabbahi maintained “We will not accept state bias towards a specific candidate.” He said he would practice “real” opposition against Sisi if the latter wins presidency, and that Sisi would be subject to “fair” accountability.”

Ahmed Shafiq confirms he will not run for president–pledges his support for Sisi

Aswat Masriya: Shafiq says will support Sisi if he runs for president

Ahram: Shafiq not running in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections

In this article: “Ahmed Shafiq, former Prime Minister, has said he will support Egypt’s Defence Minister, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, if he runs for president.

Shafiq, a former presidential contender himself, confirmed on Thursday that no campaign has publicised for him and that he has nothing to do with the banners people hang up in the streets.

“I am not a presidential contender,” Shafiq wrote on Twitter.

“Persistence in using my name and picture are Brotherhood acts that aim to create division and hint at things which Egyptians understand do not exist,” he added.”

Gender & Sexuality

New women’s magazine aimed at “creating a new image of Egyptian women and getting their voices out”

International Media Report: Challenging Egypt’s male-dominated media

In this article: “How do you balance out the male-dominated focus of Middle Eastern media? In Egypt, a group of dedicated female journalists are making headway with a new women’s magazine. The first printed edition of the new Egyptian magazine Masreiat (Egyptian women) hit the streets some two weeks ago. With topics like women and religion and women’s participation in politics, Masreiat is unlike Egypt’s other women’s magazines, which are more glossy and focus on fashion and celebrities. The target audience is also different. In contrast to the existing magazines, Masreiat is aimed not at the Egyptian elite, but rather, “ordinary” women all over the country. According to the editor-in-chief of Masreiat, Nafisa El-Sabagh, the paper and its team of dedicated, professional female journalists work to “contribute to creating a new image of Egyptian women, and get their voices out.”

Security Sector

Lockheed Martin awarded contract to update Egypt military’s F-16 fighter fleet

GovConWire: Lockheed to Update Egypt’s F-16 Electronic Warfare Tech

In this article: “Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)has been awarded a $6.9 million contract modification to update electronic warfare systems on the Egyptian military’s F-16 fighter fleet, Military &  Aerospace Electronics reported Wednesday.

John Keller writes Lockheed will equip the Egyptian F-16 program with three EW memory loader verifiers, 24 radar warning receivers and 20 Raytheon-made (NYSE: RTN) advanced countermeasure electronic systems.

Raytheon’s ACES suite is built with jammer technology that works to counter anti-aircraft missiles or attacks, according to the article.”

Marginalized Groups

Muslim Brotherhood pushing for more protests in a ‘chaos for reconciliation’ approach with the government

Xinhua: News Analysis: Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt adopts “chaos for reconciliation”

In this article: “By calling supporters to hold more protests, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is pursuing a ” chaos for reconciliation” approach to push the government to negotiate with the blacklisted group, some analysts say.

On Wednesday, rallies by supporters of Brotherhood, from which ousted President Mohamed Morsi hails, triggered clashes with the security forces nationwide, leaving two people dead and more than 30 others injured.

The protests came in response to appeals from a pro-Morsi alliance, which has called for daily protests from March 19 to April 1 in a campaign dubbed the “new revolutionary wave.”

“The Brotherhood is pressing (for more protests and) causing instability in the streets to force the government to sit at the negotiations table,” said Sameh Eid, an expert on Islamists movements at Ahram Center for political studies.

He added foreign influence, especially from the United States, which threatens to halt economic aid and suspend arms export, pressures the Egyptian government “to include the Brotherhood in the political life again.”

Rights & Freedoms

Egypt’s censorship committee banned 20 music videos for female singer’s ‘inappropriate’ appearance

Index on Censorship: Egypt: Secularists and conservatives battle over music videos

In this article: “In a move that has sparked concern among Egyptian secularists, the country’s censorship committee this week banned 20 music videos allegedly containing “heavy sexual connotations” and featuring “scantily-dressed female singers and models.” The banning of the video clips comes amid heated debate on “raunchy” music videos broadcast on some of the Arab satellite channels. In recent years, an increasing number of popular Arab female singing-stars have challenged social norms and broken cultural taboos by revealing more flesh in their video clips. The trend has stirred controversy in Egypt’s deeply conservative Muslim society with many Egyptians rejecting what they describe as “the pornification of pop music”.  They insist that the “graphic, semi-porn sexual scenes featured in some of the music videos are not in line with Islamic tradition and culture”.

It is no surprise that some liberal, westernised Egyptians agree with ultra-conservative Muslims in their society that the videos should be banned. Egyptian society–once a melting pot of different cultures has grown more conservative in the last 30 years. In his book Whatever Happened to the Egyptians, Economist Galal Amin blames the growing conservatism in the country on the introduction of Wahhabism –a more rigid form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia and adopted by the millions of Egyptian migrants who travelled to Gulf countries after the oil boom in the seventies, seeking higher-paid jobs. The gradual transformation from a diverse, open and tolerant society into today’s conservative and far less tolerant Egypt is evident in the style of dress, behaviour and speech of many Egyptians. An estimated 90 per cent of women wear the hijab-the head covering worn by Muslim women -while the niqab, a veil covering the face , has become more prevalent in recent years.”


Egypt’s energy shortage to affect population as power cuts increase

Financial Times: Egypt faces long, hot summer as power cuts grow

In this article: “The energy shortage is now so severe that government officials and investors alike recognise it as serious brake on industry. Bruno Carré, chief executive of Suez Cement, one of Egypt’s largest producers, said the shrinking supply of gas to his plants has led to output dropping to fifty per cent of capacity.

“The name of the game is to divert gas to power stations at the expense of big industrial producers,” he said. “We were planning to build up inventory ahead of the summer, but we cannot even produce at the normal level.”

To maintain its market share, the company has started to import cement to sell in Egypt, said Mr Carré, straining the country’s already dwindling foreign currency reserves.

Only a few years ago, Egypt was seen as a rising liquefied natural gas exporter, but the combination of growing domestic needs, delays in the development of new upstream ventures and arrears to international oil companies have created the crunch.”

Italy investing $1.3billion in business ventures in Egypt

Ahram: Egypt to see $1.3 billion in Italian investments: Foreign ministry

In this article: “Egypt expects to sign LE9.1 billion ($1.3 billion) worth of investment agreements with Italy, according to a statement issued by Egypt’s foreign affairs ministry on Thursday.

The Italian investments in Egypt will target energy and infrastructure projects, and should be finalised in the next three weeks, said the statement.

The announcement comes after a meeting between Egypt’s ambassador to Italy, Amr Helmy, and the Italian deputy minister of economic development, Carlo Calenda, who reached an agreement on bringing Italian companies to Egypt for a tour of possible business ventures by the end of April.

Italy is Egypt’s second-largest foreign-trading partner and its top trading partner in Europe, Helmy said in the ministry’s statement.”