• Egyptian pro-government media downplay January revolution

    Egyptian pro-government traditional media are observed to have downplayed the seventh anniversary of the 25 January 2011 revolution that forced long-standing President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

    State-owned Nile News and Channel 1 TV stations focused on the Police Day, which coincides with that of the January revolution, dedicating considerable airtime to this occasion.

    Both channels carried a logo for the 66th Police Day anniversary at the upper left-hand corner of the screen and aired parts of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s speech for this occasion a day earlier.

    Privately-owned, pro-government TV channels, such as Al-Asimah (the capital) TV, also dedicated its main evening talk show “Al-Asimah” to criticising key youth activists who played a prominent role in the January revolution, accusing them of “collaborating” with foreign powers to the detriment of the Egyptian state.

    On the other hand, Istanbul-based pro-Muslim Brotherhood Mekameleen TV marked the seventh anniversary of the January revolution, dedicating its evening chat show “Egypt Today” to discussing the revolution and the media role.

    The channel made special coverage under the title “the revolution continues”, airing footage of the revolution demonstrations, the use of force by the police against protesters and the “martyrs” of the revolution.

    Revolution vs Police Day

    The state-owned newspapers are also observed to have downplayed the event, focusing on the Police Day instead. The main headlines reflect parts of Sisi’s speech.

    Editor-in-Chief of state-owned Al-Gomhouria daily wrote a full-page article under a big headline reading: “25 January an anniversary for whom? For those who made sacrifices and defended the nation or those who sabotaged, destroyed, burned and threatened the existence of the homeland?” Two pictures for Sisi during the Police Day celebration appeared with the article.

    State-owned flagship Al-Ahram daily also published a report saying that 25 January revolution “was abducted by the Muslim Brotherhood in collaboration with foreign elements”. The paper added that the “30 June revolution”, in reference to the mass protests that preceded the removal from office of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi by the military in 2013, “restored Egypt”.

    Some pro-Sisi editors in privately-owned newspapers also criticised the January revolution.

    Managing Editor of privately-owned Al-Youm al-Sabi newspaper, Dandrawy al-Hawary, criticised the January revolution, saying: “How to celebrate two occasions on one day?”

    “The 25 January is the Police Day only. If you want, under the pressure of fear, to mark it a day for the January revolution, let it be on 28 January at least to make people remember the size of damage and destruction as well as the state of panic that filled the hearts of the Egyptians and the killings and systematic looting of public and private property,” al-Hawary said.