By Diana Moukalled
Last week’s mistake from Egyptian channel ONTV was met with the disappointment that the so-called liberal media in Egypt is drowning in. The channel’s host used vulgar language and directly incited violence against “some Syrians” in Egypt. The act reflected the country’s media scene, currently rich in glorification of the army and incitement against the Brotherhood’s audience. It is adopting the very same Brotherhood rhetoric of accusing others of infidelity and urging its viewers to violence.
Some people adopt certain language and claim they are defending freedom and the country as a whole. They also claim that they do not accept anyone blaming them for acting towards the goal of defending their country.
And so, these eloquent men of the so-called free and liberal media suddenly began to justify their incendiary rhetoric by claiming it is a form of advocacy media, but this has served to “normalize” their activities.
Perhaps the greatest price the Egyptian media will pay is that many people will, for a long time, remember the ONTV host’s remarks as he questioned the presence of Syrian refugees in Egypt and questioned their “masculinity” in not confronting the regime in their own country, and in supporting the Brotherhood in Egypt. The host also warned them they will learn their lesson.
The host’s statements stuck in people’s minds, and many found it worse than the Brotherhood media’s many images and videos that incited violence.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been defeated and we will continue to argue a lot about the army’s role in this defeat. But what is certain is that those who are among the winning party in the Egyptian media are, under the slogan of liberalism, practicing the same violence the Brotherhood practiced.
In Syria, the footage of Abu Saqqar, who ate the liver of a Syrian soldier, replaced thousands of photos and videos which documented the death and torture of thousands of Syrians. Today, the short televised speech of a “liberal” host and his “masculine” incitement wiped away the practices of the Muslim Brotherhood’s many videos, which only satirist Bassem Youssef succeeded at criticizing.
Many argue that what this host and other hosts have done, by commending the army as a savior from the Brotherhood’s injustice, are a product of the Brotherhood’s acts. They also argue that the Brotherhood would have done worse if it had remained in power.
The truth is such logic backfires against those who adopt it. By using the same methods, those claiming that injustice has befallen upon them are practicing the same injustice against others. Using these tools deprives them of justifications they think they deserve because they are against what the Brotherhood did.
The Brotherhood must be held accountable for the political, security, media and moral practices it carried out in the past year. What is being committed today in the name of freedom and in the name of revolting against the Brotherhood’s injustice must be dealt with the same way.
Successfully presenting media institutions with morals, professionalism and high political standards must not be subject to bargaining.