January 20, 2015 – Reported by BuzzFeedNews – CAIRO — Coverage inside Egypt of people arrested on charges of homosexuality has skyrocketed as a direct result of government pressure, with one editor going so far as to say it is happening under “instructions” from the state.
“These are instructions from the state apparatus” to cover sex scandals and other “silly” issues, Ibrahim Monsour, editor-in-chief of a leading Egyptian liberal newspaper, the Tahrir News, told BuzzFeed News.
Monsour said he believed the government wanted coverage of arrests for homosexuality and other “morality” charges in order to distract from political stories that could expose how the government had betrayed the hopes of the revolution that toppled the 30-year rule of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
“The regime is claiming that they represent the revolution and none of the revolution’s demands have been met,” Monsour said. News outlets, eager to keep their share of the market, have eagerly picked up the government’s line also because it serves their financial interests — sex sells, and it can continue drawing readers when the hot-button political topics are off-limits. “Unfortunately, money talks,” he said. “The problem is that there is no decency, no conscience among the people who work in the field.”
Direct evidence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s office seeking to dictate coverage to the media surfaced this week in the form of a phone call taped during his presidential campaign that leaked online. In it, Sisi’s office manager, General Abas Kamal, is heard instructing spokesperson Ahmed Ali to give orders to journalists about what to say about Sisi…Story Continues Below…