Egypt generals debate media control in video

Egypt generals debate media control in video

Egypt generals debate media control in video

Egyptian Defense Minister and Military Chief Gen Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi (C) says he already knows how to win over the media in the video footage. AFP photo

A group of Egyptian generals, including the army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, debated possible ways of placing pressure on the Egyptian media before of the July 3 coup, according to a recent video.

The footage, released by activists on Oct. 1, shows a high-level military gathering that took place before of the coup that ousted then President Mohamed Morsi.

The video starts with an anonymous officer urging el-Sissi to find ways to take the reins of the media in his hands.

“We must re-establish red lines for the media. We need to find a new way of neutralizing them, the media in Egypt is controlled by 20 or 25 people,” the officer is heard saying in the footage, according to al-Jazeera.

“We should engage with these people directly, and individually either terrorize them or win them over,” the officer adds.

Al-Sisi then says he already knows how to win over the media, but asks the officer to further elaborate on how to “terrorize them.”

“I want to tell you that we’ve been concerned with controlling the media from the very first day the army took over power in 2011. We suffered a lot, because in order to achieve what you’re talking about you need to have influence, it’s not as simple as just setting up a committee or task force,” al-Sisi is heard saying in the video.

Time needed for control

“It takes a long time before you’re able to affect and control the media. We are working on this and we are achieving more positive results but we are yet to achieve what we want,” he adds.

Egyptian military forces have been raiding media offices for months since the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi government, exerting pressure on all media outlets in the country which the coup-plotters see as sympathetic to the previous administration.

The state news agency said an Egyptian court had ordered on Sept. 3 al-Jazeera’s local affiliate to stop broadcasting, along with three other stations known for their coverage of Islamist protests, saying that they had operated illegally.

Forces raided the Cairo bureau of Turkey’s Ihlas News Agency on Aug. 20, detaining the bureau chief, Tahir Osman Hamdi.

Another Turkish journalist, Metin Turan, a correspondent of state-run TRT, was also detained.

Over 10 journalists are currently detained in Egypt without being brought to trial. Their detention is renewed every 15 days, the legal limit for administrative detention, according to Reporters without Borders.