Egypt Media Roundup – May 8, 2014

05/08/2014 . By TIMEP

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TOP STORIES

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Legal & Political Institutions

Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al Sisi’s first live television interview was a strategy move in his campaign for many reasons. In Egypt’s mass-consumption news arena, “big-name hosts like “El Boss” Eisa and Hadidi…dominate the media discourse” and therefore have a certain amount of political sway. [Al MonitorRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

The Egyptian cabinet has approved a new anti-sexual harassment law. The law, which states that a sexual harasser is one who “accosts others in a public or private place through following or stalking them, using gestures or words or through modern means of communication or in any other means through actions that carry sexual or pornographic hints,” is the first that explicitly define this type of harassment, and carries a punishment of prison sentences, fine, or both. [Ahram] 

Marginalized Groups

Egyptian expatriates in the Gaza strip requested that they be allowed to cast votes during the upcoming presidential elections. According to Ma’an, “about 7,000 Egyptian nationals in the Gaza strip are eligible to vote but not outside Egypt.” [Ma’anRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

A group of human rights organizations, including Al Nadeem Center and Nation without Torture, held a press conference condemning the fact that, according to them, torture in Egypt has become “an unwritten law,” calling torture “one of the legacies of Mubarak’s regime.” The groups are calling for greater accountability of the government in prisons. [Daily News EgyptRead More..

Security Sector

National security forces allegedly stopped an attack on petroleum and electricity companies in Suez. The attack was allegedly carried out by 25 “thugs and convicts” who were said to have been hired by the Muslim Brotherhood to “orchestrate attacks on police and military forces during the upcoming presidential elections.” [Mada Masr

Economy

Noble Energy, the largest owner of the Israeli Tamar gas field, have signed a “non-binding” letter to export trillions of cubic feet of natural gas through Egypt. The Egyptian government has denied that this deal was signed, saying it had not authorized the companies to undertake the contract. If the deal goes through, it could be worth as much as $1.3billion per year. [Al JazeeraRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

The United States will nominate its ambassador in Iraq to take the place as the US ambassador to Cairo. Robert Stephen Beecroft will be filling the spot of US envoy to Cairo that has been vacant for 8 months since Anne Patterson left last year. [Reuters, Gulf News, Egypt SIS
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MORE STORIES

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Legal & Political Institutions

 Sisi’s first televised interview: nothing we haven’t already heard before 

Atlantic Council: Sisi in the Hot Seat: Reading Between the Lines

In this article: Wael Eskander breaks down presidential hopeful Abdel Fattah al Sisi’s recent television interview, and what the interview says about the candidate. He notes that Sisi’s tone was sincere in discussing matters that gained him his popularity, such as Morsi’s ouster and the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. However, when new questions were presented to Sisi, he didn’t answer them as fluidly, “he did not give direct answers appearing to avoid topics that were not to his liking, and often taking control of the conversation…[with] an air of impatience in his tone and mannerisms.” Eskander identifies Sisi’s biggest error throughout the interview as the fact that he did not offer any new information or insight into his plans for the presidency–therefore, the interview probably was a nod of support from his current fanbase, but likely did not gain him any new followers.

Marginalized Groups

 Egypt’s health minister may temporarily ban pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia due to increased concerns over MERS infection 

Ahram: Egypt may ban Hajj pilgrimage as MERS virus spreads: Official

In this article: Egypt may seek to temporarily ban the Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia due to the increased concerns over the spread of the MERS virus. Saudi Arabia has seen over 100 deaths due to the disease, and several people in Egypt are reported to have been infected.

Rights & Freedoms

 International graffiti ‘movement’ called “Sisi War Crimes” gains popularity 

The Guardian: Graffiti artists unite against Egypt’s presidential hopeful Abdel Fatah al-Sisi

In this article: Well-known international graffiti artists are coming together under the slogan “Sisi War Crimes” in cities across Europe, the US, and North Africa to “encourage fiercer international criticism of Sisi’s behavior.” Celebrated Egyptian graffiti artist, Ganzeer, says, “it seems like Sisi will easily fool the international community that the majority of Egyptians side with him. All the images getting out there are of squares filled with Sisi supporters, with little to no news of the other side.” The graffiti ‘movement’ seeks to highlight issues of importance that fall outside of the realm of Sisi’s media sensationalism and inform international actors of the realities of Egyptian life.

 Growing concern over Ultras return to ‘militant’ protesting due to recent court verdicts 

Daily News Egypt: Jail sentences re-position Egyptian football as potential protest venue

In this article: After the sentencing of over 10 football fans belonging to the “Ultras Ahlawy” group, “the well-organized and street battled-hardened militant support group of storied Cairo club Al-Ahly SC,” for allegedly blocking a road in Cairo and organizing an illegal gathering, there is concern that the group may return to major protesting–like they did during the 2011 revolution. A member of the group spoke out saying, “It’s likely to be the quiet before the storm. I don’t know a single person who will vote in the presidential election. Even my parents, simple people who are not Islamists, don’t believe in what is happening. People will lose faith in the military. They are losing faith in everything.”

 April 6 group launching campaign “Against You” against Sisi–still deciding whether to boycott elections or support Sabahi 

Mada Masr: April 6 Youth Movement proposes anti-Sisi campaign

Ahram: Banned April 6 group mulls election boycott

In this article: The April 6 Youth Movement-Democratic Front has announced that it will allow its members to decide whether to vote for presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi or boycott the elections altogether. The one factor that the group was adamant about was that they would be against other candidate Abdel Fattah al Sisi and plan to launch a campaign titled “Against You” which aims to “uncover his lies and previous positions against the revolution.”

Economy

 Egypt’s pound weakens, while black market rates stay above official rate 

Reuters: Egypt’s pound hits new low, weakens on official and black market

Bloomberg: Pound Drops to Record as Egypt Seeks to Narrow Black-Market Gap

In this article: The Egyptian pound weakened, hitting a new low while a continuous dollar shortage kept the black market prices above the official rates. “A Cairo based forex trader said that the pound had hit its weakest level since the central bank started the dollar sales in December 2012.”

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