Friday, February 4, 2011

Sensationalized Coverage

Shahira Amin quit Nile TV after restrictions on covering protests in Tahrir. Photo from Al Ahram
First of all, let me tell you how it works if you’re a journalist. You wait your whole life for something like this to happen. You know that should it happen, while you never want to see people hurt, this could be your chance at making it big. So when you happen to be where the action is, it’s time to put your big girl panties on and give Anderson Cooper a run for his money.

While I’m unaware of exactly what most of you are seeing on television, I can tell you that the BBC is focused on the reporter that walked out of the Egyptian state-owned television station to join protests. Nile TV anchorwoman Shahira Amin told the BBC, “We were not allowed to report on what was happening in Tahrir Square” and thus, she walked out.

Excuse me, Ms. Amin, let me know when you were ever able to report anything on Nile TV as even Nile FM, the only English radio station, is heavily prohibited from playing certain music and what news is released. Is this anything new? What is new are all the foreign press agencies that are stationed there which gives you an “in.” I am even watching the BBC right now as Amin debates the protests, something that she never would’ve had a chance to do.

Everyone has their own agenda and I don’t think Amin is any different.

A friend sent me a link from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer that has compiled a list of foreign journalist that have been threatened, attacked or detained while covering the protests. No, I’m not here to debate that these things are inaccurate, but I am going to debate the sensationalized coverage. At the very bottom of this list you have: CBS News’ Katie Couric harassed by protesters.

Can someone please tell me when Katie Couric has ever left the comfort of anything to get to the bottom of things, perhaps risking getting her business suit slightly dirty? Hey Katie – when someone yells, “Ya mozza” or “Gameela” that simply means they think you’re pretty.

I watched the video of Couric out in Tahrir. You need to understand, those people are trying to get their voices heard. I listened to the Arabic in the background, no one said anything derogatory to her. It looked to me like Couric has been behind a desk for so long that she’s forgotten how to tune out the protesters and continue on. Couric, take notes from Cooper. Thanks.

What’s Happening NOW

For all of you worried that foreigners are being targeted, please read closely.

I talked to a doctor last night stationed in Tahrir, trying to give medical attention to anyone in need. He said that security is very tight and inside the square was more of a carnival atmosphere.

A few hours ago, my Egyptian neighbor called to ask if I’d like to get out of my apartment. I went with him and his two children to the market and surprisingly, it was stocked with a great deal of supplies. Whereas bread was hard to get last weekend, it was on the shelves in abundance. In addition, there was plenty of milk and meat. The main problem now is the inability to extract money from ATMs.

Everyone in the market was kind and helped one another. My neighbor even tried to purchase my items on his credit card so I could save my money, but I declined. We went to his mother’s house in a different part of Maadi and road blocks were starting to be set up. Not once did I have anyone say anything to me and my window was down, there were no dirty remarks/statements and no disgusted looks.

I took the picture of the army tank set up on the outskirts with my phone because I didn’t want them to catch my camera. Even before protests, you weren’t allowed to take photos of any government buildings or personnel – this is nothing new.

While things are uncertain and I’m not trying to say there isn’t a cause for concern, I just want to highlight that everyone has their own agenda whether it be the Egyptian state-owned TV, US media outlets or political regimes. It’s hard to decipher what is right from wrong and things are beginning to get very confusing. Rumors are spreading like wildfire and I encourage everyone to remember that there are three sides to every story – hers, his and the truth.

1 comment:

  1. Too true. Media sucks these days anyway. The networks especially claim to be unbiased, yet seem increasingly to becoming more and more politicized and perhaps sensational. Guess that is what happens when the news stations, papers, etc are less concerned about getting the whole truth out to people and more concerned about doing what is best for their bottom lines.