Cairo, 12 October 2011
ANHRI filed a complaint today to the Attorney General demanding an investigation into Osama Haikal, Minister of Information, for hate speech, inciting violence, and falsified news on the state TV during the coverage of the assaults against the Coptic protesters before Maspero, the state TV building, on 9 October.
A group of Coptic demonstrators had organized a peaceful march before Maspero, protesting the demolition of the Marinab church. Those responsible for triggering the violence that broke out are still unidentified. The protesters were subjected to an unprecedented massacre following the murders witnessed during the peaceful uprising of Egypt last January. The Egyptian TV devoted all its massive potentials to outrage and incite the people against the Coptic citizens. Some presenters at the state TV asked the Egyptian people to go out and protect the army from what they claimed to be violence and brutality of the Copts.
In addition to this hate speech, the channels of the Egyptian TV were full of falsified news that were denied by the eye witnesses, pictures, and videos that we all saw on the Internet. One of them is the evidence-less news on fatalities in the Egyptian army, shot dead by the Copts. State TV has neglected all the ethics and norms of the media and judged the whole situation without any investigations or evidences to their claims.
“National newspapers and the Radio and Television Union are mass media owned by the Egyptian people alone. Their only goal should be protecting the interests of this people, and their right to genuine information. The incitement on the channels of Maspero should not pass without an investigation with the first one responsible for it, who is the Minister of Information, especially that it would have caused a strife and violence that could have led the country into dire consequences if the citizens had responded to these calls” said ANHRI.
ANHRI affirms its total rejection of the existence of a Minister of Information, especially that all the democratic experiences have proven that this position should not exist in a democratic country. Our own experience as Egyptians before, during, and after the revolution of 25 January also proves that this position is only there to make the official media a means to protect the interests of the authority at the expense of those of the Egyptians’.
Therefore, ANHRI demands the Attorney General to investigate Osama Haikal and bring him to justice, and reiterates its call for the Military Council to abolish the position of the Minister of Information, as well as to take the necessary measures ensuring the transition of the Egyptian media from a means serving the interests of any authority, to a means of serving the interests of Egypt and Egyptians.