Thursday, 26 January 2012

A Year in the Life of #Egypt's Media: A 2011 Timeline [Updated]

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[Cartoon by Carlos Latuff][Cartoon by Carlos Latuff]
[This timeline is part of a series entitled "Free at Last? Charting Egypt's Media Post-Mubarak." Click here to read Part 1.]
26: Protesters marching from Tahrir Square towards state television building in Maspero to demand media reform.
Protesters march again towards the state media headquarters in Maspero to call for the purification of the institution, demand that it commit to the revolution, and to call for an end of military rule. In an attempt to shame the employees at the network, demonstrators projected on the facade of the building videos from Kazeboon of military violations against protesters. The protesters call for an open-ended sit-in until their demands are met.

[The words "Down with Military Rule" projected by protesters against the wall of the state television and radio building, Maspero. Photo by Azza Shaaban.]
Empowered by the sizable turnout of on the previous day, and the growing sentiments against SCAF, some of the private television networks have intensified their criticism of the military to unprecedented levels. An example of this is a strongly-worded diatribe by Al-Tahrir TV's Ibrahim Eissa about the failure of the military's transition using both incisive analysis and ridicule. 
25: Enormous protests flow into Tahrir Square from all areas in Cairo. Similar marches in other major cities in Egypt. Television networks turn to rolling coverage of the celebration/protest and the various factions represented in the Square--the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Wafd, and the Revolutionary groups--in an attempt to unpack what this day signifies. Extensive interviews with protesters, experts, and revolutionary figures on most channels with key differences in emphasis on specific demands, but revolving largely on mechanisms of handover to civilian government.

["The revolution continues:" Tahrir Square and leading streets overfilled with protesters and revelers on the first anniversary of the January 25 revolution. Image from Al-Dustour.]
Alternatively, the military organizes a band rally in Mostapha Mahmoud is received by a few hundred supporters. Another pro-SCAF event in Abbaseya draws embarrassingly small numbers. Private media focus shifts to Tahrir Square and the "revolutionary movement."
Shortly after sunset in Cairo, a group going by the "Occupy Maspero" movement, called on protesters to make their way to the headquarters of the television building in an attempt to overtake the heavily militarized facility.
24: Just twenty-fours hours before the first anniversary of the revolution and with plans for protests in place, Field Marshal delivers a speech in which he tried to affirm SCAF's commitment to the revolution. He declares that the Emergency Law will be lifted the following day and will only apply to cases of thuggery. He also stated that "legislative and monitoring authority" have been handed over to the elected parliament. Additionally, SCAF released a statement reiterating these points and appearing to soften their tone vis-a-vis Tahrir and the revolutionary groups. It is evident these actions were taken ahead of the protests to absorb public anger and create a public image of the military's benevolence.
To add to this image, blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad was finally released from jail on this day. He quickly released a video statement on YouTube condemning SCAF's attempt to use his release as a PR tool and called for the toppling of the regime, and threatened that they will soon face a tribunal in the Hague.
23: Egypt's first elected parliament post-Mubarak holds it opening session with extensive media coverage. The unique composition of the body, with around 3/4 Islamist membership (Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi), attracted much attention. The proceedings of the parliament may served as a media distraction away from the revolution's first anniversary a couple of days later with widespread captivation by audiences across the country.
22: The crew of BBC Arabic are prevented from leaving former PM Ahmed Shafik's home following an interview they conducted with him. Supporters of the presidential candidate and Air Force General intimidated anchor Khaled Ezz el-Arab and his crew and confiscated all the tapes from the interview in protest of the challenging questions about his relationship to SCAF and Mubarak. It was later reported that during the interview Shafik said that if elected president, Field Marshal Tantawi would hold a higher position than Minister of Defense. He also spoke highly of Mubarak, describing him as a "good military man and a patriot."
In a rare act of dissent within the Maspero, employees in state news station Nile converge on the office of Gen. Ahmed Anis, the Minister of Information, and shouting "Down, Down with military rule." The protest was triggered by the failure of the ministry to make financial amends with the station's staff who get paid less than their counterparts in other state media institutions. Additionally, the protestors voiced their frustration with the decision not to air a documentary "My Name is Tahrir Square" by director Ali Algeheny before 25 January and management's insistance to broadcast it on the day, some say to avoid rolling coverage from the streets. The employees expressed their suspicion of a decision to move Maspero's production operations on January 25th to the Production City in suburban area of 6 October. In another attack on state media employees, journalist Lamis Abdelghany is being investigated for giving interviews in support of Maspero employees in their discord with their management. She is charged with breaching occupational confidentiality. For other staff qualms, see this article in Almasry Alyoum.
At 10pm Cairo time, Nile TV begins airing the documentary in question which heralds a significant shift in coverage of the Mubarak regime and the military. It is not clear whether the employee pressure resulted in the decision to broadcast or if a mutiny at Maspero forced its showing without the approval of the Minister Ahmed Anis and the Head of News, Ibrahim El-Sayad.
21: Blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad, the first to criticize the military in a March 7 post entitled "The People and the Military are not one hand," is scheduled to be released by a decree from Field Marshal Tantawi along with 1959 others sentenced in military courts ahead of January 25th. The decision is widely seen as a last-minute symbolic concession to the revolutionaries to curb anti-SCAF sentiment. Thousands sentenced under the same provisions remain in custody in military jails. However, when Maikel's family went to Tora prison to receive him, they were attacked by police and told he would not be released until January 26th.
Street campaigns to expose SCAF's violations and dispel the anti-protest discourse of state media intensify as screenings and marches are held across the country with increasing regularity ahead of 25 January. While the most prominent group is Kazeboon, Wael Ghonim's initiative Salasel El-Thawra (backed by "We Are All Khaled Said" Facebook page) has also brought thousands of youth out to protest peacefully and silently by forming human chains along main roads in Cairo and Alexandria.
19: In a shocking media turnaround from the Al-Wafd Party newspaper, the headline for this day read "The People Demand the Head of the Field Marshal" and strong anti-SCAF sub-headers "Mubarak and Tantawi, same disappointment, same fate" and "The battle between security apparatuses threatens the state" and "Sayed Al-Badawi (Wafd party leader) quits SCAF's Advisory Council." Another article in the paper calls on people to protest on January 25 under the header "Be angry, Go down, Revolt!" If this action does not lead to a reprisal or prosecution by SCAF, it would constitute the first breach of its kind against Tantawi and may compel other independent newspapers and media to follow suit.

[Al-Wafd newspaper shocked readers on January 19 with an over-the-banner headline declaring "The People Demand the Head of the Field Marshal" indicating a possible fallout between Al-Wafd Party and SCAF.]
The citizen journalism portal Mosireen becomes the most viewed non-profit channel on YouTube worldwide after just four months of collating and archiving video content about events unfolding in Egypt, especially attacks by security forces on protesters throughout the last months as well as compilations of testimonials from the early days of the January 25 Revolution. The platform aims to challenge the monopoly traditional state media has on the story and to dispel some of the government's myths using a collective participatory approach.
In a widely circulated amateur video from Suez, a group of military police training for 25 January are heard chanting "The police are up and everyone else is below." Protest groups argue it is evidence SCAF is indoctrinating soldiers against the public and intend to confront demonstrators on the revolution's first anniversary.
18: SCAF Head Field Marshall Tantawi gives remarks to Egyptian media warning activists ahead of the January 25th and accusing some of them of plotting to destabilize the country in an attempt to rally public opinion against anti-SCAF protesters who will demand an end of military rule on the one-year anniversary of the revolution's commencement.
Prominent activist Nawara Negm was attacked as she left Maspero today by a group of twenty-five men who chanted pro-military slogans and insulted her. Egyptian state television presenter and journalist Hala Fahmy who witnessed the attack claimed that the violators were members of the military in civilian attire. The incident became fodder for television networks and the video shot by one of the assailants circulated widely online. The following day, Negm would bring a case before the Attorney General against not only the security officials charged with protecting the Maspero state television and radio building who watched her being attacked without taking any action. She also accused ofincitement Tawfik Okasha and Hayat El-Deraidy, two anti-revolution presenters on El-Fara'een satellite channel, as well as Ahmed "Spydar" a young fledgling singer-turned-opinion leader who gained notoriety for his support of Mubarak and SCAF and accusations against revolutionary youth leaders.
An important day for Al-Azhar where the interim government decided the institution's highest authority would be elected and not appointed. On the same day, in a landmark declaration, the sitting Grand Imam Sheikh Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Taieb dismissed participation in the celebration of Egypt's January 25th revolution stating that the spirit of the revolution must be rekindled. This flies in the face of the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) which has declared it a time of jubilant celebration of the revolution's accomplishments.
A public event at the Cairo Opera House to celebrate the Libyan Revolution didn't go according to plan as SCAF member Gen. Adel Emara tried to give a speech at the podium only to be shouted down by protesters who chanted "Down, down with military rule." Embarrassingly, the Libyan event organizer received more ovation than his Egyptian counterpart who left the stage dejected. The video of the incident circulated widely online and the story was carried by some satellite networks to illustrate the growing unpopularity of the military and by others as evidence of the unruly, uncivilized and disrespectful nature of the protesters.
17: Egyptian media focus on Jimmy Carter's report from Cairo after his visit during the final round of parliamentary elections. Following his meeting with Field Marshal Tantawi, he said the de facto president assured him that the video of the so-called "blue bra" girl was fabricated and that the army forces were trying to cover her up despite her provocative attire. He also concluded that the elections in Egypt were transparent and representative of the will of the people. Revolutionary groups believe Carter was deceived by the military.
SCAF member Gen. Etman gives an interview to state channel Nile TV arguing that on January 25th 2012, Egypt will celebrate the success of the revolution so that foreign investments can increase, tourism can improve and "the country gets back on track." Etman also said that Egyptians should be in good spirits, since positive morale will reflect positively on the country's prospects, rather than the atmosphere of misery that dominates the scene these days. He added later that private satellite networks are actively deceiving the public by criticizing SCAF and accusing state television of corruption.
15: A nationwide gasoline shortage dominates the airwaves and the print media for days as SCAF attributes blame to the weakening economy due to continued civil disobedience and protests. Revolutionary groups cite SCAF and government failure in managing the economic transition and a claim the ruling junta are keeping gasoline in their own repositories to play for an upcoming military air-show on January 25th. 
An all-women's protest calling for the "purification of Egyptian state media" marched from Omar Makram to Maspero with tens of participants who coordinated their action via Facebook. The demonstrators shout slogans such as "Egyptian media doesn't represent us," "A media war against the revolution," and "Liars' media, where are you taking us" and "If we purify the media, Egypt will be fine."
14: Nobel Laureate and opposition figure Dr. Mohammed Elbaradei calls off a press conference on this day and announces on his Facebook page and Twitter feed that he has withdrawn from the presidential race citing that the "regime has not fallen" and accusing Egypt's current rulers of autocracy. He releases a video on YouTube to this effect which gets over 300,000 views in four days in which he declared he will dedicate his effort towards ensuring that the youth that started the revolution would lead the country. In the statement, Elbaradei states that the government media has remained loyal to the regime post-Mubarak and must be "purified." The decision by Elbaradei has a major media fallout as the press and networks tackle the issue from conflicting perspectives.
11: Prominent Muslim Brotherhood official Mohammed Ghazlan criticizes journalists and demands the reactivation of a law that allows for the arrest of journalists. Members of the Journalists Syndicate and prominent media figures condemned his statement and expressed concern that the Brotherhood may be showing signs of intolerance to media criticism, which poses a problem now that they have a parliamentary majority. The article in question was published in Al-Fagr independent newspaper under the title "Women for Pleasure: The political and sexual exploitation of the Brotherhood's harem."
In a move widely seen as an attempt to appease protesters ahead of the first anniversary of the revolution, Field Marshal Tantawi announces that 25 January will be commemorated as a national holiday. SCAF member Gen. Etman of the Morale Affairs Office released a statement which includes the scheduled celebrations for the occasion which includes nationwide air shows that last for three days, a musical extravaganza, and gifts being dropped in several governorates courtesy of the armed forces (details of this celebration in Arabic can be found here). In response, revolutionary groups accuse the military of trying to hijack the occasion which they intend to use to demand a swift end to military rule. The see much of the scheduled activities as largely gimmicky and out of touch with popular sentiment since much of the revolution's demands remain unmet.
9: Rotana Egypt's host Hala Sarhan interviews several guests on her show Nass-book who suggest that the parliamentary elections were rigged so significantly through the issuance of fraudulent identification cards and suspicious multiple voting by individuals. Dr. Ibrahim Kamel, a candidate in the election, suggested the systematic rigging may account for up to 9 million false votes.
The state's radio and television building, Maspero, becomes a major player in the trial against Mubarak, his sons and the Ministers of Interior and Information. An on-site room used for twenty-four-hour security surveillance of Tahrir Square and various areas of Cairo had documented and evidenced all violations committed against protesters during the eighteen days of protests. In a major surprise, a CD containing this material was recovered and submitted by Amir Salem to the judges presiding over the trial. Another defense lawyer, Samir Salem, has asked that charges of perjury be brought against Field Marsal Tantawi and Gen. Omar Suleiman for their false testimony absolving Mubarak and company of giving orders to use ammunition against protesters.

[#OccupyMaspero. Graffiti by El Teneen]
A new book by the former head of news at state television Abd El Latif El Menawy, "The Last 18 Days of Mubarak: An Insider Account of the Uprising in Tahrir" discusses the final days of the regime. While offering interesting insight into Mubarak's inner circle during its last days, it absolves him and his institution of any wrong-doing during that period. El Menawy left his position when a mutiny among his colleagues at Maspero demanded his firing for failing to cover the protests and propagandizing against the revolution.
Amnesty International released its report on human rights in the Arab Spring, entitled "Year of Rebellion" which included a criticism of SCAF's human rights record in the previous year, stating that violations by the military may be worse than those under the Mubarak regime. With many of these violations affecting freedom of expression and the media, the report goes on to say that SCAF's actions may "even reverse reforms that the Mubarak government had felt obliged to make by public pressure" (Click for full report).
State investigators continue to pursue activists and revolutionaries who criticize SCAF in a strategy to intimidate them ahead of the 25 January anniversary. Among those summoned for questioning on charges of incitement are presidential hopeful Ayman Nour of Al-Ghad party, engineer and activist Mamdouh Hamza, activist and writer Nawara Negm and most recently the Sheikh of Omar Makram mosque and man know to revolutionaries as "Tahrir Preacher," Mazhar Shahin.
In a strange yet serious application of the blasphemy law, telecommunication, construction and media mogul Naguib Sawiris will face a trial over an image he posted on twitter in June 2011 showing a bearded Mickey Mouse in the characteristic Salafi garb and Minnie Mouse in a niqab. Salafi television network Al-Naas rejoiced in the decision to send the leader of the "Free Egyptians" party to court while his network ONTV and ridiculed it. In light of the growing new media cacophony in this period, there is an increased worries that curbs against public expression on the social media will take root in post-Mubarak Egypt. The sentencing of Maikel Sanad Nabil for criticizing the military in his blog established SCAF as a red-line, while the Sawiris-Mickey Mouse case may turn religious into another taboo subject.
8: April 6 movement launched a nationwide campaign entitled "Preserve the Military" calling on SCAF to hand over power on January 23 when the elected parliament convenes. While continuing to push for large protests against military rule on the first anniversary of the revolution, the campaign's name is meant to distinguish between the armed forces and the ruling junta.
The media landscape vis-a-vis the January 25 protest begins to develop into two general camps, those television networks supportive of a victory rally on the anniversary of the revolution, those who want to see the revolution continue to topple SCAF's rule. Generally speaking, January 25 TV, Al-Tahrir and to a lesser extent ONTV represent the latter  (e.g., Ibrahim Eissa on Al-Tahrir calling for a trial of SCAF on the grounds of killing protesters). State television, Al-Hayat, CBC, Dream TV, Al-Mehwar, the Salafi Al-Naas channel, and others tend to be more celebratory and cautiously avoid what SCAF calls "incitement against the military," inviting only occasional and mild criticism the ruling junta.
Nasser Amin, the director of the Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP), one of the NGOs targeting by the government for receiving foreign funds, accuses Al-Wafd newspaper of fabricating documents to incriminate his organization and incite against it.
As the third and final round of elections approaches completion, most media focus on the Islamist-dominated parliament and the possible coalitions with the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party.
Media campaign to discredit revolutionary groups by SCAF and interim government ahead of anticipated January 25 protests enters a new phase as April 6 and other groups are condemned publicly (for example, see this verbal attack by Gen. Mahmoud Mansour on a member of April 6 on Al-Balad private station). In another clip, Deputy Head of the Egyptian News Wire, Ali Hassan, warns of a plan to dismantle the state on January 25 through confrontations between the military and protesters with foreign funding on Dream TV.
7: Media cover protest by pro-SCAF group "the Silent Majority" in front of the US embassy condemning American "interference" in Egyptian domestic affairs and funding of human rights groups and civil society organizations.
Widely circulating online video shows Coptic priest Yohana Fouad apologizing for publicly shaking hands with Gen. Hamdy Badeen, the man responsible for the military police during the Maspero attacks on Christian protesters and condemns the church's silence in the face of SCAF and the government. There was a suspected transmission interruption when this appology was reported on Al-Tahrir television station along with complaints by families of those killed at Maspero against the church's invitation of SCAF members at their expense, there was suspected signal interruption.
Al-Nahar private network host Mahmoud Saad conducts the first interview with Azza Helal, known as "the girl in the red pullover," who was attacked by the military on December 19 during the "Cabinet Incident" while trying to help another girl who was stripped and beaten in Tahrir Square.
6: Deputy head of SCAF, Gen. Sami Anan (far left) with prominent members of the military were the unpopular guests of honor at the Christmas service presided over by Pope Shenouda.

[Image from Ahram Online.]
Following the most trying year for Christians in Egypt in recent memory, coverage of Coptic Christmas was divergent. State media broadcasted live from the Patriarchate Church in Abbaseya as Pope Shenouda presided over the mass. Senior members of SCAF, headed by Gen. Sami Anan, prominent government officials (alongside presidential hopefuls Amr Moussa and Gen. Ahmed Shafik) occupied the front seats in an uncomfortable show of solidarity between the Church and the military.

[Catroon by Doaa El-Adl]
An embarrassing moment came during the Pope's greeting of SCAF, when members of the congregation shouted "Down with military rule." Not an unanticipated occurrence, state television cameras did not pan in the direction of the voices and the confinement of microphones at the front ensured the service went uninterrupted and the applause from the front rows drowned the voices of dissent.
In personal videos circulating online and broadcasting on some private networks such as January 25, members of Maspero Youth Coalition were among those who chanted and confronted by church security.

["Christmas Mass at the Cathedral." Cartoon by Samih Samir.]
Alternatively, some private networks broadcast a contrasting service in Kasr el Dobara Church near Tahrir where protesters like Ahmed Harara, writers like Alaa Al-Aswany and others were in attendance. Interestingly, talk show hosts Yousri Fouda and Reem Magued from ONTV became key participants in the ceremony. This clip from the Protestant private network Sat-7 from the ceremony features a word from the Sheikh of Omar Makram mosque in Tahrir.
4: Al-Tahrir airs videos of the online-to-offline campaign Kazeboon (Liars) targeting SCAF's violations, including one exposing the problematic and inconsistent discourse of SCAF member Gen. Mamdouh Shahin throughout the one-year transition period allowing wider distribution of these videos and amplification of the anti-SCAF message. Quality of audio and video uncharacteristically poor suggesting possible signal interruption by authorities. Other videos screened include a strong visual rebuttal of Gen. Adel Emara's press conference claims on the December 19 military attacks on protesters.
Al-Jazeera Arabic broadcasts a documentary film entitled Sena'et El-Kathib (Manufacturing Lies) offering an insider's view of what happened in the state's media in Egypt during the eighteen days of the protests.

 Criticism of SCAF on some private channels such as Al-Tahrir and ONTV reaching a crescendo as anchors begin taking greater risks ahead of January 25. Ibrahim Eissa's program hosts AUC professor Zeinab Abul-Magd to discuss the military's control of politics and the economy since the 1952 coup d'etat. Ibrahim Eissa publishes a column reiterating the same accusation of SCAF's deal with the Muslim Brotherhood in his column.
1-4: Kazeboon (Liars) campaign to expose SCAF violations holds rallies in various areas in Cairo and across the country to screen material not broadcasted on state television. Very limited media coverage of such activism so far, but some press reported the rallies, such as this one in Dokki featured in Al-Wafd party newspaper. While some rallies were attacked by Mubarak and SCAF supporters, the events were successful at gathering popular momentum in Zamalek, Ismailia, Alexandria, Al-Haram, El-Mohandiseen, El-Matareya, Helwan, Shoubra, and some of the new suburban neighborhoods outside of Cairo. 
31: New Years celebrations in Tahrir Square draw tens of thousands. The atmosphere is carnivalesque with revelers, commemorators, mourners, meditators, and activists. Most were there to honor the lives lost in 2011, push for interfaith national unity, and to demand an end to military rule. Security forces avoided confrontations with the crowds and the celebration/protest ended peacefully with many vowing to return on 25 January to push for an end to SCAF's rule. State and private media all covered the Tahrir's ushering of 2012, but each reported the festivities differently--from divergent numbers of attendees to the political tone of the event depending on their respective audience.
31: A leaked document signed by Air Force Gen. Yousef Sayed El-Masry and dated 27 November, 2011, instructs all regiments under his administration to press officers and soldiers to watch El-Fara'een channel because its programs are "neutral, objective and put the nation's interests above all considerations."
30: One year after the Alexandria church bombing, SCAF releases a statement encouraging Egyptians to work alongside the security forces to protect churches during New Year's celebrations and appeals to the preservation of the country's image abroad as a peaceful and civil.
29: Security forces raid the offices of six NGOs--mostly civil society and human rights organizations--shut them down indefinitely and confiscated equipment and documents to investigate foreign funding. These include the Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP) led by rights advocate Nasser Amin and US based National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI). Most of these organizations' agendas include advocacy for freedom of expression and media. Long-time Mubarak cabinet member and SCAF's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga is the person tasked with pursuing foreign funded non-profits and has targeted them selectively. Germany summoned its Ambassador to Egypt in protest of the shutting down of German pro-democracy NGO Konrad Adenauer Foundation's offices.The state media coverage of the raid rejoiced in the government's effort to "curb foreign influence in the country" ignoring SCAF's $1.3 billion annual handout from the United States government. 
A court acquits all five police officers accused of killing protesters in Sayeda Zeinab neighborhood in Cairo during the demonstrations that toppled Mubarak. Private media show videos of families' anger and sadness in reaction to the ruling, including this widely-circulated Al-Jazeera Mubasher Masr video of a mother crying and lamenting the ruling
28: To counter state media's pro-SCAF stance, Mosireen (We are insistent) campaign encourages Egyptians who are dismayed by the omission of military's attack on protesters to set up public screenings of the violations in their neighborhoods. Another campaign known as Askar Kazeboon (The military are liars) also began online-to-offline flashmob-style screenings of videos showing SCAF's violations against civilians to dispel state media's lies. 

["The camera is mightier than the gun"--Kazeboon (Liars) campaign uses citizen journalism to document and disseminate corrective information to combat SCAF propaganda, counter Maspero's coverage, and showcase the military's violation of protesters.]
27: Samira Ibrahim, 25 year old, the only one of seven women subjected to “virginity tests” by the military on March 9 to have challenged the military legally won a landmark battle in an Administrative Court. The court’s ruling made the practice tantamount to sexual assault and rendered it illegal in all Egyptian prisons.

[Samira Ibrahim celebrates court ruling against "virginity tests."]

Tawfik Okasha, owner of El-Fara’een station, is confronted by protesters while on the parliamentary campaign train in Belqas (Dakahlia governorate) leading to his entourage firing on them and his forced imprisonment by neighborhood families for two hours before he was released.

Extensive coverage on Al-Tahrir TV and ONTV of the health conditions of those injured in the military attacks at the previous week, including Azza, the woman who was beaten during her attempt to help the girl who was stripped in Tahrir.

26: Novelist and activist Alaa Al-Aswany publishes an article strongly critical SCAF in independent paper Almasry Alyoum entitled “Do we refute our eyes to please you?” 

Journalist Syndicate holds an event on the occasion of Alaa Abdel Fattah’s release to discuss the Maspero incident and its legal implications.

[Alaa Abdul Fattah released following fifty-two days of military detention.]

25: Editor of Al-Tahrir newspaper and show host on Al-Tahrir television writes an editorial entitled “Mubarak’s Military Council” declaring that SCAF is a continuation of Mubarak’s rule and constitute the counter-revolution. Blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was detained on charges relating to the Maspero incident by a military court, was released once his case was before a civilian court. Considered a major success of the “No Military Trials for Civilians” campaign and a indication that extensive media coverage and pressure bears fruit with the otherwise intransigent SCAF. A major public relations and media blow for the military and its position on Maspero violence generally and the case against Abdel Fattah specifically. Extensive coverage of his release on private networks (such as this full interview with him on Yousri Fouda’s ONTV show “Akher Kalam” broadcast the following day).

SCAF loyalists intimidate the staff of independent newspaper Al-Fagr, edited by Adel Hammouda, who threatened to break in if the publication’s tone against military rule continues.

Facebook page for Tawfik Okasha’s show on El-Fara’een station is hacked by activist and turned into a parody page.

[Photo from the hacked page of pro-SCAF candidate Tawfik Okasha and owner of El-Fara'een satellite network.]

23: Tawfik Okasha of El-Fara’een channel is carried aloft at Abbasiya Square by pro-SCAF protesters and his channel adopts a hostile stance towards Tahrir Square demonstrators. In one widely circulated clip, a writer calls in on the show and says that “Field Marshal Tantawi’s shoe is more important than everyone.”
State channel Nile TV covering Tahrir and Abbaseya protests zooms in on the latter to suggest comparable turnouts:

Independent newspaper El-Shorouk (owned by Ibrahim El-Moalem) posts a video on its website arguing that the “third party” (whom the military accuses of all the violence committed) is actually rumors.

A highly polarizing day, two protests were called for this Friday including “Regaining Honor” in Tahrir which calls for an end to military rule and trial of all those responsible for deaths of protesters, another in Abbasiya Square under the name “No to Vandalism” supporting SCAF. The sizeable protest in Tahrir was covered live on most private networks and Al-Jazeera Mubashir (Live Egypt) where the most common chant is “The people demand the execution of the Field Marshal.” One of the chants from Tahrir is a taunt at state television asking them to learn from Al-Jazeera. The smaller (5,000-strong) rally in support of SCAF featured nationalistic songs and compositions in praise of the military played on loudspeakers and included chants like “Elbaradei you traitor, get your dogs out of Tahrir.” One of the large banners displayed at the protest demanded the execution of several private talk show hosts, such as Mahmoud Saad of Al-Tahrir TV and some non-state journalists reported being attacked by protesters.One of the chants from this march was “From Egypt’s women to Ghada (the name of the girl who was famously stripped and beaten in Tahrir), the best you deserve is the boot.”

22: Private networks run story of graduate instructor, Hend Badawy who was beaten by the military and was visited in the hospital by Field Marshal Tantawi who she reprimanded and kicked out of her hospital room. She is being charged with vandalism and incitement against the military. El-Fara’een networkcalls for participation in an anti-Tahrir pro-stability and pro-SCAF protest the following day in Abbasiya Square. Anchor says she will kiss people’s heads and hands to come out to the protest to protect their country.

Rose El-Yousef reports that the CIA is trying to overthrow the government in Egypt with collaboration from Israel and Iran. Gen Kato gives interview to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat where he claims the Geneva Convention allows the military to use weapons and fire on protesters. He adds that the military is being patient and should use more violence to deal with protesters who are “vandals.” Three days prior, he gave an interview to independent newspaper El-Shorouk claiming that protesters are delinquents who deserve no sympathy who deserve to be thrown into Hitler’s ovens.

[Carlos Latuff cartoon depicting Gen. Kato's comment to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper.]

21: Generals go on air to explain the military’s position and are rarely challenged, except on this rare occasion when Dina Abdelrahman from Al-Tahrir television stands up to her guest and shows evidence on air to refute SCAF’s story.

Rights groups condemn Egyptian state television coverage of the military attack on protesters. A rare critical perspective on Egyptian state television but confined to English language network Nile International with far smaller viewer base. Former Minister of Health under Essam Sharaf says SCAFordered the attack on Mohammed Mahmoud St in November, in an interview with Youm7.

SCAF, government, and some Islamist movements participate in a media campaign to discredit Revolutionary Socialists using an online video where member Sameh Naguib called for the “toppling of the state.” The group responded with a strong statement which circulated widely online and on the private television networks and was supported by other political groups.

[Revolutionary Socialists respond to campaign of defamation by SCAF and Islamist political movements.]

[Original video of Al-Noor Salafist party spokesperson Mohammed Nour inciting against the Revolutionary Socialists on Saudi-owned, Cairo-based Islamist network Al-Naas.]
Global uproar and media dissemination of military’s attack on the young woman in Tahrir causes rift in Egyptian media. State media use conspiracy to explain western obsession with women’s rights in Egypt and private media accuse military of scandalizing the country. Comments from Hilary Clinton admonishing SCAF’s conduct result in government intransigence publicly. Foreign Ministry releases a statement calling Clinton’s comments an “interference” in domestic affairs. Some channels like El-Fara’een and El-Naas (predominantly Salafi) argue this incident is being used to usher in a period of increased western imperial interference in domestic Egyptian affairs.
20: Large women’s demonstration against military violations, triggered by the photos and video of the now-famous “blue bra girl.” Ten thousand protesters chant against SCAF and military rule in Tahrir. Similar protests in Alexandria. Demonstrations from Ain Shams University and other universities following the death of two students of medicine and engineering during the military’s attack on Tahrir. Extensive coverage on private and regional satellite networks. In response to the women’s protests,SCAF release a statement regretting what happened, affirming their support for the women of Egypt, admitting some mistakes occurred during the “emptying” of Tahrir and vowing to punish soldiers responsible for the violation.

[Media coverage of photographs and videos showing the stripping and beating of a young woman in Tahrir triggers large women's protests in Cairo and Alexandria.] 

19: More than ten deaths in the early hours of Monday morning. The military holds a large press conference, during which journalists trying to ask questions are responded to aggressively by SCAF member general Adel Emara, who threatens to kick the journalists out. The statement of the military argues that foreign and “invisible hands” are behind the deaths of protesters and accuse them of burning down the Institut d’Egypte. The April 6 Youth Movement challenges these claims using videographic evidence. International media cover the local and social media battle over the story. Photographs and video of the girl being stripped and beaten by military circulate widely in the international press, prompting outrage. In the meantime, the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate released a statement exposing and condemning state violence against the media and journalists.

A widely circulating but uncredited cartoon ridiculing SCAF's use of state television to frame and manipulate reality:

18: The Journalists Syndicate, a body that has become increasingly empowered to speak against the government since Mubarak’s fall, convene a session that holds SCAF responsible for the attacks and deaths from the Cabinet protest. While State television blames the protesters for the violence, private networks show evidence of the military attacks on civilians and host criticism of SCAF. State media presenters who challenge the military’s position on the violence are punished, including Ziad Ali, morning radio show presenter, who has his live show cancelled for reading an article critical of the military. Another presenter, Nermeen El-Banby, is also fired for similar reasons and is being investigated for incitement against the armed forces.

17: Military imposes a media blackout as they attack Tahrir. On account of reporter Rawya Rageh, plainclothed soldiers enter hotel where Al-Jazeera English is shooting, in search of camera equipment. They attack and beat a woman at the entrance and proceed to throw the satellite, dish, camera, and other materials out of the room balcony.

Al-Ahram publishes false quote from Sheikh Emad Effat, a prominent member of Al-Azhar’s Dar El-Iftaa Authority, who was killed by live ammunition from military attacks on the Occupy Cabinet protest. He is described as having said he had no affiliation with the protesters there. His wife released a statement insisting he supported the Occupy Cabinet movement, was committed to the revolution, and had visited the sit-in often. Other private networks like CBC host the Grand Mufti to talk about the killing of Sheikh Emad Effat; he cries on air.

Joseph Mayton, editor-in-Chief of Bikyamasr, an English-language independent online publication, is detained, questioned, and beaten by military while trying to cover the violence. A furious Amr Adeeb on Al-Youm channel challenges SCAF and the government to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths and accuses the military of interfering in the operations of the media.

During clashes between the military and protesters, the irreplaceable repository of historical archives, Institut d’Egypte, is struck by a Molotov cocktail and catches fire. State media accuse the protesters of deliberately igniting the fire and destroying national treasures and claim the armed forces were trying to rescue documents. On the other hand, the private media, such as ONTV, report that protesters blamed the military for the violence that caused the fire and show scenes and interviews with protesters trying to rescue books and documents from building. Al-Badil independent newspaper counters the SCAF and state media with videos showing military and thugs attacking protesters from atop the Institut d’Egypte building and protesters trying to put out the fire.

16: Army kidnaps and brutalizes protester and Ultras Ahlawy member “Aboudy,” who was protesting at a sit-in by the Cabinet building. Military forcefully ends sit-in; number of deaths reported with evidence of live ammunition used by troops against protesters. Videos circulate widely showing military personnel throwing rocks, plates, and ceramic pieces from atop the Cabinet building onto protesters below. One of those killed is a councilman in Dar El-Ifta’a (the highest authority on Islamic edicts) and a fifth year medical student who had volunteered in Tahrir’s field hospital. Some of those attacked include a recently-elected parliamentarian. State television parrots SCAF’s statement that violence was committed by protestersand that no live ammunition was deployed. The day also includes attacks on journalists, such as an editor with Elbadil newspaperVideos like this one aired on Egyptian state television show confrontations between protesters and military from one side, thereby avoiding any incrimination of the military.

[Young protester, "Aboudy," whose beating by security forces and testimony were the initial spark of the violence at the Cabinet Occupy.]

7: Appointment of a new Minister of Information, Ahmed Anis, from the military ranks. Anis is a close associate of the last minister under Mubarak, Anas El-Fikky.
24: As the Ministry of Information continues to deny any use of rubber bullets or any other shotguns in disbanding the protests in Tahrir, Al-Ahram clearly crops a widely circulating photo online, which incriminates police by showing them using ammunition against protesters.

Almasry Alyoum’s English language print edition, Egypt Independent, was launched only to beprevented from publishing their second issue by their Arabic language parent paper. Editor of Arabic edition Magdy El-Galad argued in an op-ed piece that a column by US-based scholar Robert Springborg criticizing SCAF was problematic and unacceptable.
Kharabeesh video expressing the frustration and anxiety of the Egyptian viewer in response to the blatant misinformation and disinformation by the state television and radio out of Maspero:

22: SCAF Head Tantawi delivers a speech to the public following major battles in Tahrir between police and protesters where he accepts the resignation of Essam Sharaf’s government and appoints Kamal Ganzouri as new Prime Minister, criticizes protesters for creating tension between the people and the military and highlights burdens of the SCAF and the armed forces in managing the transition. He announced an end to military trials of civilians and implied a possible referendum on whether SCAF should remain in power.
21: In a rare incident, state television anchor with Nile TV Mona El-Shayeb responds to criticism of her network by revolutionary groups and private stations on air by pleading that the public support her and her colleagues' campaign to purify state media. She goes on to explain that the old ways are very deeply rooted and that liberating the media will not be easy.
19: Police and military attack a sit-in of protesters injured in the early stages of the revolution in January/February. Street battles near Tahrir on Mohammed Mahmoud Street, now known as “Eyes of Martyrs Street,” lead to the deaths of dozens and injury of thousands. Protests in Tahrir for the following week bring out hundreds of thousands demanding an end to military rule and SCAF stepping down. State media once again fail to deliver the story accurately, compared to the private networks.
[Almasry Alyoum cameraman who was shot in the eye while filming police attacks on protesters on Mohammed Mahmoud Street. Image from]

 Protest in Tahrir against document of constitution principles that gives military immunity and extra-constitutional powers. Widely covered in the private media.
31: Armed forces inaugurate the tallest flag tower in the world (176 meters) at a ceremony featuring a ceremonial statement by SCAF member Gen. Fangary on the occasion of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi’s birthday. Musical acts, speeches and flag raising session all broadcast on state television and largely ignored by private networks. Social media discussion about was primarily criticism, ridicule and parody.
22: Yosri Fouda, host of ONTV show, suspends his program following pressure from the military, ahead of a show planned to discuss SCAF’s conduct during the interview with El-Shazly and Eissa a few days prior.
19: Mona El-Shazly of Dream TV and Ibrahim Eissa of Al-Tahrir TV and newspaper host a landmark hour and a half interview with two members of SCAF, Major General Muhammad Al-Assar and Major General Mahmoud Hijazi. The two officials are subjected to the most trying and confrontational questions since the council took over after Mubarak’s departure.  
[Two SCAF members give an interview to Mona El-Shazly and Ibrahim Eissa about the Maspero massacre.]
12: SCAF holds a press conference on the violence at Maspero (broadcast on State channel Nile TV) in which they show edited footage that incriminates the Coptic protesters, and accuses them of attacking and violating the military. The military is claimed to have acted only in self-defense and was said to not be armed with ammunition. Widely circulated videos of protesters being run over by armored vehicles are not shown here, and are replaced with unconvincing footage of military vehicles swerving around protesters, claiming the drivers were stressed, nervous, and afraid of being ambushed by Christian protesters. Private networks show a different story altogether, and the attack on state television reaches a crescendo. Bilal Fadl of Al-Tahrir TV shows a long and unedited clip of the entire showdown at Maspero that dismisses state television’s claims. International media highlight state media blunders.
SCAF member General Etman in a press conference praising state television for their coverage of Maspero attacks:

[Image from Ahram Online]

9: A predominantly Coptic Christian protest demanding equality and action by SCAF against a spat of attacks on churches ends in confrontations with the military, which leads to the death of more than twenty-five people, mostly Christians. State television erroneously reports that Christian protesters tried to storm the television building and were the first to violently attack the military, supposedly causing numerous deaths in the ranks of the soldiers.
4: SCAF appoints military censor over Egyptian press. Several prominent columnists in the country leave their columns empty as an act of protest at the move.
[Empty Columns in protest of appointment of military censor for the press.]
2: SCAF Head Tantawi in a seemingly impromptu commentary about the state of the country where he asserts no orders were given to the military shoot protesters, thereby refuting his council’s commonly stated position as those who protected and guarded the revolution.
26: Egyptian state television shows the head of SCAF, Field Marshal Tantawi, taking a stroll in downtown Cairo dressed in civilian attire and without security. One of the presenters asserts his popularity and prestige among Egyptians and argues he is qualified to be president. The station claims the video was unscripted and captured using a phone camera.
24: Under a complete media blackout, SCAF Head Tantawi testifies in the case of Mubarak and the attack on protesters. He fails to offer conclusive evidence of the former president’s orders and the testimony is done under a complete media blackout.
9: Protesters in front of the Israeli embassy breach a wall built by the military and enter Embassy offices, throwing documents out of the window. This follows weeks of demonstrations at the site, after an Israeli attack in Sinai killed six Egyptian soldiers. On the same evening, the military intimidate several stations, including  Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr, whose office was raided, leading to the shut down of the network’s operations in Egypt. US-government funded network Al-Hurra also had military personnel storm their set while on air.
15: Judge decides Mubarak trial will no longer be televised.
14: Prominent online activist Asmaa Mahfouz arrested and faces military trial for criticizing SCAF in a tweet and for opposing the military trials of civilians. Four days later, she is cleared in a public statement by SCAF due to significant public pressure.
5: Military police violently break up an activist Iftar (breaking of the fast dinner) in Tahrir on the fifth day of Ramadan.

3: Commencement of historic trial of Hosni Mubarak, his sons Gamal and Alaa, the former Minister of Interior, and other members of his government, on charges varying from giving orders to kill protesters, to corruption and embezzlement. Televised on state channels, virtually all private satellite networks, and the most regional stations.
1: On the first day of Ramadan, military and police forcibly break up weeks-long Tahrir sit-in.
29: Large protest in Tahrir dominated by Islamist groups demanding trials for Mubarak regime figures and calling for an Islamic state in Egypt.
24: Host on Dream TV Dina Abdelrahman is criticized on air by military General Abdelmonem Kato for reading an article challenging SCAF’s conduct during Al-Abbassiya incident. Following their volatile exchange, her station fires her. She later accepts a position with Al-Tahrir TV.
23: On the anniversary of the 1952 coup d’état that dethroned King Farouk and installed military rule, protest groups marched on Ministry of Defense to protest the conduct of SCAF during the interim period. They were stopped and cornered by the military and police while being attacked by thugs. This “Al-Abbassiya incident” led to the death of one and injury of hundreds of protesters.
9: After a month of speculation about the future of the Ministry of Information and its possible dissolution, SCAF and the interim government of Essam Sharaf appoint a new minister, Osama Heikal.
8: Protests demanding trial of former regime figures and criticizing military’s conduct.
1: Protests demanding trial of former regime figures and criticizing military’s conduct.
29: Clashes occur between the families of the revolution’s “martyrs” and security forces and military at El-Balon (Balloon) theater in Agoza. The violence spills over into Tahrir and tens of injuries occur. Private media are perplexed by the incident, struggle to challenge the military and the state television’s story accusing the protesters of being unruly vandals and baltageya. 
19: Rasha Azab, a journalist with independent newspaper Al-Fagr, was summoned to the military prosecutor with editor in chief, Adel Hammouda on accusation of “publishing false information with the potential to cause public disorder” for an article detailing a meeting between SCAF and activists campaigning against the widespread use of military trials against civilians. After a few hours of interrogation, she was released without bail, but she still faces a possible prison sentence or fine.

14: Mohamed Elbaradei’s appearance on state television cancelled. He is re-invited, but cancelation retracted after backlash.
4: Hafez Al-Mirazi resigns from the Board of the Egyptian State Television in protest over military leadership of the new National Council on Media, led by General Tarek El-Mahdi.
30: Blogger and activist Hossam El-Hamalawy and ONTV presenter Reem Magued summoned to SCAF Headquarters regarding criticism of SCAF expressed on her show.
30: Following months of denial, a senior military general admits "virginity tests" were conducted on women protesters on March 9 and defended the practice in an interview given to Shahira Amin for CNN.
27: “Second Day of Rage”—nationwide protests demanding end to military trials for civilians, trial for former regime figures, removal of all Mubarakites from offices, and call for draft of constitution before parliamentary election.
16: SCAF Head Tantawi speaks at the graduation ceremony for the Police Academy where he states the military “refused” to fire on Egyptian citizens during the 18 days of protests in January, implies orders were given to attack.
16: UN General Assembly reviews report on freedom of access to information, declaring access to the Internet a human right, in light of government curbs in Egypt on 27 January 2011. (Full report here)
14: With the military in clear view of Maspero radio and television building, a group of "thugs" attack a Coptic sit-in and fire live rounds. Incident receives limited media coverage.

10: First woman presidential hopeful Bouthaina Kamel’s guest appearance on state television taken off air by head of ERTU after she criticized conduct of SCAF.
7: Riot on rumor of Christian convert to Islam being held hostage in church leads to the burning of that church in what would then be known as the “Imbaba incident.” Private and state media cover the story extensively.
3: Media Freedom Declaration released by a large number of civil society organizations, human rights groups, media scholars, and practitioners, calling for the reform of media institutions, laws, and practices in Egypt. It is the inaugural statement of the National Coalition for Media Freedom (NCMF), which will release its report on the state of the Egyptian media post-Mubarak on the one-year anniversary of the January 25 Revolution.
10: Mickael Sanad Nabil, a blogger, becomes the first civilian person in Egypt to be sentenced in a military court (for 3 years) for expressing criticism of the military when he published an article entitled“The People and the Military Were Never One Hand!”

8: Major protests demanding removal and trial of former regime figures. Protesters include military officers who appeared in uniform. Sit-in attacked by the military and dissident members of its forces arrested and sentenced to jail terms. The April 8 Free Officers movement created to commemorate this day.
1: Major protests demanding trial of former regime figures.
23: Law criminalizing protests, strikes, and sit-ins that disrupt public and private sector institutions, with organizers facing jail time and up to half a million Egypt pounds in fines.
19: Referendum to amend the constitution. Drafted by SCAF-appointed committee. Amendments accepted by seventy-seven percent of voters. SCAF later releases a constitutional declaration that annuls some of the referendum amendments and describes the vote as one that endorses interim SCAF rule over Egypt.
14:  Violent breakup of the Coptic sit-in outside Maspero by the military. Limited coverage in the local media as the press were reluctant to criticize the armed forces. 
9: Tahrir Square forcibly emptied by the military. Wide violations by military including “virginity tests” conducted on women protesters and the torture of activists on the grounds of the Egyptian Museum. Ignored by the state media and covered extensively by the private networks and international media, to the chagrin of military officials.
5-6: Protesters raid several headquarters of the much-despised State Security (Amn El-Dawla) andretrieve classified documents illustrating violations by the Mubarak regime, from vote rigging to surveillance, torture, etc. This becomes fodder for the social media and television networks. Citizen journalists distribute the content widely online in what is now known as “Amn El-Dawla Leaks.”
3: Church burnt in Atfeeh village in Sol. Sectarian violence ensues and massive Christian protests lead to a lengthy sit-in at the Egyptian Radio and Television building (commonly referred to as “Maspero”). Sit-in disbanded when the military agrees to rebuild the church. Coptic protest movement created to advocate for Christian rights within the revolution and is named Maspero Youth Coalition after the Egyptian state media.

2: Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik is challenged in a televised ONTV talk show in a heated exchange with novelist and critic Alaa Al-Aswany. He resigns the following day and is replaced by Essam Sharaf.
21: The military uses heavy machinery to demolish a wall surrounding a desert monastery of St. Bishoi. The action was said to be in response to the monastery appropriating state land. Significant force was used and live ammunition fired to intimidate and desecrate (watch full video here). The incident went virtually unreported in the state or private media but received extensive coverage on Coptic networks.
11: Mubarak steps down in a televised statement delivered by then-Vice President Omar Suleiman.
7: Wael Ghonim, primary administrator of the “We Are All Khaled Said” page, gives a dramatic and impassioned interview on Dream TV’s talk-show “10 PM” after being released after eleven days in custody.
[Wael Ghonim cries on Dream TV.]
3: Shahira Amin, a senior reporter, deputy head of channel and news anchor for state broadcaster Nile TV quits in protest of her network's coverage of the uprising 
2: “Battle of the Camel”—Mubarak supporters (mostly paid) attack protesters on horse- and camel-back; televised globally and now an iconic moment in Egyptian revolution.
30: SCAF Head Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi visits Tahrir during the protests
28: Day of Rage protests. Military deployed. Extensive coverage by transnational satellite networks, especially from western media and private Egyptian stations. State media downplay and undermine protests.
27: Shutdown of all internet (lasted four full days) and mobile technology (twenty-four hours) across the country.
25: First Day of Revolt—coincides with National Police Day. Egyptian television criticizes the protest as vandalism.

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