Journalists at state-run newspapers held a protest on Sunday at the Press Syndicate demanding the resignation of their editors-in-chief and a change in their papers’ editorial policies.
The journalists, who also accuse their editors and upper management of corruption and demand their investigation, have been stung into action by their papers’ coverage of the events leading up to the former president’s resignation, and the glaring editorial shift immediately after.
“The people demand the toppling of hypocrisy,” they chanted and “From Saraya to El-Dakak – they are the champions of hypocrisy.” Osama Saraya is the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram and Magdy El-Dakak of October magazine.
Mahmoud Mostafa, a reporter for Al-Akhbar Al-Youm, said he was embarrassed by his paper’s coverage of the revolution. “I was part of an institution that actively tried to turn Egyptians against one another by spreading lies,” he said. “We need to clean out those at the top and start a new beginning,” he added with mounting anger.
Many Egyptians are angry at state-controlled media over its coverage of the revolution.
State TV and newspapers shifted overnight from actively denouncing and dismissing the uprising to gushingly praising the momentous achievements of the revolution. This switch was most dramatically captured on Al-Ahram’s front page, which boasted the headline “The people toppled the regime” with a large picture of mass celebrations in Tahrir Square.
There are as yet no indications that these targeted editors are planning on going anywhere – if their columns are anything to go by anyway. But already plans are underway by the protesting journalists to hold a larger demonstration at Tahrir Square next Friday to reinforce their demands.
In the meantime, Facebook and Twitter are being used to spread calls for a boycott of state-run papers. It remains to see whether these pressures will lead to any resignations.