How can you fabricate a demonstration?

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In light of the expansion of protests against the deteriorating living conditions in Egypt, the official media dealings with the demonstrations varied, starting with absolute denial, despite the fact that they are expanding daily. This diligence in denying and belittling the ongoing movement in Egypt took an unprecedented turn after the media loyal to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi boasted of filming a video of fabricated demonstrations and publishing it on social media platforms to entrap opposition channels.

Egyptian media outlets resorted to what surprised followers, when two media figures announced together with pride that a video clip of a demonstration in the village Nazlet al-Semman, Giza Governorate, had been fabricated. The story began with a state of euphoria for some journalists loyal to the regime. They were proud of showing a demonstration that they said was not real and was not in the Nazlat al-Samman area, but rather a representative work produced by the United Media Services Company, which has become the media arm of the Egyptian intelligence. The two journalists announced that opposition media presented the video as a real demonstration, and thus these channels swallowed the bait, they said.

According to these media professionals, this demonstration was produced and sent to some Egyptian opposition channels that broadcast from abroad, and to Al Jazeera, to entrap them and convince Egyptian media followers that these channels are broadcasting fake demonstrations in Egypt. Yesterday, official channels close to the regime broadcast the fabricated video, accompanied by footage that it said was published on opposition and “hostile” media, with a state of euphoria about the “downfall” of these channels in what those satellite broadcasters called a “trap.”

How can you fabricate a demonstration? The two Egyptian media workers did not clarify the answer to this, especially since the forces that published the video applied well-known professional standards to verify them, according to observers. The clip was new, not previously published, and the date of its publication is correct. The fabrication is a lie, and the perpetrator is the convict, which made al-Sisi’s media attempt to push his opponents into a hole as evidence of condemnation for him.

Opponents considered that the regime was the one who fell into this hole, so the matter turned against him after activists on the social media mocked him. Twitter users considered that it reflects the Egyptian regime’s anger with the demonstrations. The fabrication also reflects, according to activists, an admission by this system that it is fabricating incorrect facts, which challenges its credibility with its followers because whoever admits to fabricating an incident, raises doubts about the possibility that this has been done in previous events. Some activists have argued that this incident is the most critical practical admission by the state media in Egypt of fabricating scenes that prove the regime’s point of view.

This fabrication is new evidence of the validity of the regime’s opponents’ accusations to the media of fabricating the June 30, 2013 demonstrations, which paved the way for al-Sisi’s coup when he was defence minister, as he suspended the constitution and dismissed the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, who was the first elected civilian president in Egypt’s history, according to activists. The fabricated video also challenges the credibility of the queues at elections that the regime’s media used to broadcast to demonstrate voter turnout. A wave of ridicule erupted on social media platforms, as the oldest Arab intelligence service celebrated success in deceiving journalists and broadcasters.

Tweeters considered that the matter represents an attempt to delude the Egyptians that all the demonstrations that took place in dozens of villages and on the outskirts of Cairo were fabricated fake protests. While others said that the authority’s media has proven that these channels broadcast what they receive and do not fabricate them, as the regime’s satellite broadcasters have promoted throughout the past week, in their endeavor to deny the existence of protests which they later admitted to.

Tweeters said that what al-Sisi’s media did indicates that the material broadcast on its screens about voter queues is probably also fabricated, as they have proven that they can be easily fabricated in studios. Professors criticised the fabrication of the video, saying that it undermines the credibility of satellite channels, wondering: Can anything that the Egyptians saw on their screens as evidence of accusations against the opponents be trusted after this fabrication?