Egypt Media Roundup – Apr 25, 2014

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Legal & Political Institutions

Last month, the Minya Criminal Court sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death. On April 24, Al Masry Al Youm reported that Egypt’s official religious institution, Dar al-Ifta, had approved the death sentence–shortly after, Egypt’s Grand Mufti denied condoning the sentence. A spokesperson said, “the opinion of Dar al-Ifta in the case is secret and cannot be disclosed, and everything being reported about accepting or rejecting [the death sentence] for some or all defendants in the case is baseless speculation.” [Mada MasrRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

Cairo’s Women for Women has launched a campaign in Egypt to empower women and increase their participation in parliamentary and municipal elections. Activist Shahira Mehrez said, to Al Monitor, “We are fighting for the future of Egyptian women. It is shameful that women’s representation in the last parliament was 1.8%, one of the world’s lowest, worse than Congo!” [Al MonitorRead More..

Marginalized Groups

Mada Masr talks to schoolchildren about political divisions in Egypt. Despite their inability to vote, many young children are heavily influenced by public discourse, particularly anti-Brotherhood discourse. [Mada Masr]

Rights & Freedoms

Two people were killed during clashes between security forces and Islamists in Fayoum. One woman was reportedly shot in the stomach during a protest, and several others were reported injured in the clashes. No confirmation of the deaths or injuries has been issued by the authorities as of yet. [AhramRead More..

Security Sector

Reuters speaks to a woman whose husband and teenage son are being hailed as ‘martyrs’ by militant group Ansar Beit al Maqdis, and ‘terrorists’ by the Egyptian state. As more and more people join extremist groups in Egypt and the region, scholars and analysts try to explain the phenomenon. Anani of Johns Hopkins University said: “Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has growing appeal among disenchanted Islamists.” [ReutersRead More..


The energy crisis in Egypt faces new obstacles on a near daily basis, with daily power cuts and gas shortages looming in front of the summer months. A government official recently disclosed to Reuters that Egypt needs at least $5billion to invest in its power grid, and boost the generation capacity of the system. However, Egypt’s economy is deteriorating due to ongoing violence and a decline of the tourism industry. [Reuters, PressTVRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

Egypt’s foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, has arrived in the US for a multi-day visit. The goal of the visit is to “hold talks on mutual ties and regional issues” with Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials in the US government. [AhramRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

 The Economist: “Sabahi…would make a natural candidate for the top job…[but] is virtually certain to lose [Egypt’s presidency]” 

The Economist: Egypt’s election The other man

In this article: The Economist profiles presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, saying, “in a country with normal democratic politics, Hamdeen Sabahi, the sole candidate set to run against Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt’s presidential election on May 26th and 27th, would make a natural candidate for the top job. The 59-year-old, who is virtually certain to lose, boasts an unusual record in a profession that is rare in Egypt. He is a self-proclaimed politician, and a skilled one at that.” The article discusses the challenges that Sabahi faces running against Abdel Fattah al Sisi, primarily that voters who won’t vote for Sisi will most likely abstain from voting rather than vote for Sabahi–narrowing his chances of winning even further.

 Ali Fathalbab–the first senior Muslim Brotherhood member released from prison 

Andalou Agency: 1st senior Brotherhood member freed since Morsi ouster

In this article: Egyptian authorities have released Ali Fathalbab, a member of the high board of the Freedom and Justice party. Fathalbab was arrested on August 28 on charges relating to violent protesting. He is the first senior Brotherhood member to be released since the nationwide crackdown on Brotherhood supporters began last summer.

 Sisi’s “non-traditional” electoral program and campaign strategy 

Mada Masr: Sisi pulls a no-show in first TV campaign ad

In this article: In a campaign television ad for Abdel Fattah al Sisi’s presidential campaign,

Sisi is noticeably absent from the ad. According to Mada Masr, “the ad features a former classmate, craftsmen in a bazaar where Sisi’s father used to work, and a group of ordinary people in idyllic settings across the country lauding the former defense minister.” The campaign ad uses Sisi’s blatant campaigning approach which he stated as, “I don’t have an electoral campaign program in the traditional sense,” as a way to show that his massive support will, in a sense, run his campaign for him.

Gender & Sexuality

 Salafi fatwa allowing for ‘wife rape’ condemned by Egypt’s religious institutions 

Al Arabiya: ‘Wife rape’ fatwa sparks row in Egypt

In this article: An Egyptian preacher and vice president of the Salafist Call has proposed fatwas “allowing men to let their wives be raped if they fear for their lives.” Yasser Burhami’s fatwas sparked backlash and condemnation within Egypt and on social media, particularly his comments that allowing for a man’s wife to be raped is like getting mugged for money; “in this case he is forced [to surrender her] and not obliged [to defend her]” he said. Egypt’s religious endowments ministry has condemned the fatwas, saying that it “has no basis in either Sharia or common law.”

Security Sector

 Unidentified gunmen opened fire on security post in North Sinai and injured Egyptian soldier 

Ahram: One soldier injured in Sinai attack

In this article: An Egyptian soldier was injured in North Sinai when an unidentified gunmen fired at a security post. Yasser Mohamed, 20, was shot in the leg while on guard at a security outpost in the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zewaid, and has been rushed to the hospital, the source told state news agency MENA.  

Rights & Freedoms

 Egyptian authorities close off Tahrir Square ahead of pro-Morsi demonstrations 

Aswat Masriya: UPDATE l Egypt closes Tahrir Square ahead of pro-Mursi protests

In this article: Egyptian authorities closed off Tahrir square to prevent protesters from entering during Friday clashes. The square was surrounded by armed forces and tanks early in the day on Friday. The pro-Morsi camp called for protests in Cairo against “state crimes against Sinai” the day after Sinai Liberation Day.

 Mohammed Shuman gives his opinion on the different biases in Egypt’s media 

Ahram: Egypt: Predominant media’s false discourse

In this article: Mohamed Shuman outlines three ways in which Egypt’s media is swayed. Firstly he discusses the “vagueness” of discourse surrounding the January 25 revolution. He says: “The story of the 25 January Revolution is far from finalised as history is written by victors and it seems that victory has yet to be achieved in a decisive way for any one political or social party to this point.” Secondly, he points out “conspiracy mechanisms” that he believes are used in predominant media. Lastly, Shuman discusses his perception of “illusions and historical similarities” in Egyptian media. He says, “discourse promotes many illusions based on wrong perceptions and false presumptions” about the Brotherhood and about Sisi.


 Egypt’s bread ‘smart card’ to help the economically disadvantaged 

US News: Egypt to introduce smart cards to save the money it spends on annual wheat subsidies

Associated Press: Egypt Tries to Save Money on Wheat Subsidies

In this article: Egypt’s supply minister has said that the new smart cards for bread will serve three purposes: 1) prevent citizens from buying bread in bulk; 2) save roughly LE11billion; 3) ensure that cheap bread goes only to the neediest.

 10 acres of arable land on Egypt’s western border destroyed in fire 

Ahram: Fire destroys 10 acres of farm land in Egypt’s Siwa Oasis

In this article: A fire broke out in Siwa Oasis, destroying 10 acres of arable land on Egypt’s western border. Although Egyptian firefighters were able to control the fire, it burned 10 acres of olives and dates. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

 Egypt’s decision to use coal sparks outrage, government officials working on setting environmental rules to regular transporting, storing, and using coal 

Saudi Gazette: Is Egypt on the verge of environmental disaster?

In this article: Egypt’s recent decision to use coal to help in Egypt’s energy shortage has fueled debate in the environmental sector. “Coal will be detrimental to tourism in the Red Sea,” Ali Reda, head of the Touristic Investment Authority in the Red Sea, said in a press statement. “It will pollute the environment, harm people’s health, and destroy marine life especially coral reefs.” Minister of Environmental Affairs Laila Iskander said: “I have failed to convince the government to retract its decision to import coal. My team and I were unable to make them see the magnitude of the hazards of importing coal and the environmental disaster that would follow.” She went on to say, “We cannot allow divisions within the government and have to work together,” she said. “What can be done now is setting the environmental rules that should regulate importing, transporting, storing, and using coal. We are working on that now.”

Foreign Relations

 Ahram: Ethiopian PM calls Egypt to resume talks over Renaissance dam issues

Reuters: Paying for giant Nile dam itself, Ethiopia thwarts Egypt but takes risks

In this article: Ethiopia’s decision to self-finance the Renaissance dam has given the country unprecedented control over the construction and later-hydropower benefits. But the decision to fund the huge project itself also carries the risk of stifling private sector investment and restricting economic growth, and may jeopardize Ethiopia’s dream of becoming a middle income country by 2025. Egypt, which has claimed exclusive right to control the river’s waters for generations, is fuming. Cairo worries the dam will reduce the flow on which it has depended for drinking water and irrigation for thousands of years.

It has demanded building be halted pending negotiations between the countries, and had offered to take on joint ownership of the project, an offer Addis Ababa dismissed.

 Editorial: Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s lack of action validating Egypt’s jailed Canadians? 

The Star: Why is the Harper government validating Egypt’s jailers?: Editorial

In this article: The editorial points out Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s lack of action in working to release Canadian-Egyptian Al Jazeera journalist, Mohamed Fahmy, along with other Canadians jailed in Egypt. They say, “Canadians are languishing in fetid Egyptian prisons for crimes they didn’t commit, along with countless other people. But that hasn’t stopped Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government from reaching out and validating their jailers. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s “warm and productive” meetings in Cairo this past week with officials installed in the wake of former field marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s coup have set a new low bar for diplomacy. To hear Baird tell it Canada is keen to “effectively assist Egypt at this critical juncture” rather than call the regime to account for its crimes.”