Egypt Watch

Antagonisms inside the regime as state-sponsored media attacks media minister

The crisis of the regime’s media wings in Egypt has erupted again. This came during a meeting organised by the Rose Al-Youssef magazine. The gathering of editors-in-chief of national and private newspapers issued a statement calling for the Minister of Media, Osama Heikal’s, dismissal.

Heikal has been subjected to fierce and successive campaigns by journalists and media professionals in Egypt for several months now, who have been demanding his dismissal.

Editors-in-chiefs of national and private newspapers accused the minister of igniting media discord, striking the national media’s credibility, and dragging it into side clashes that harm the public interest, as they described it. They explained that Heikal had sought several months ago to use media councils and bodies’ constitutional powers to raise several problems against the Supreme Council for Media Regulations’ previous leadership. They accused him of fabricating a crisis with the Media Syndicate by interfering in the areas of the union’s work beyond the limits of his position.

The meeting added that the minister did not tolerate criticism from some editors-in-chief and wrote phrases on his accounts on social networking sites hinting to the public that he is exposed to a conspiracy. According to their statement, Heikal’s writings were exploited by the anti-Egyptian media (opposition media) to distort the nation’s reputation despite the need for everyone to join hands and rally behind the political leadership, General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

It is remarkable that Heikal is exposed to a state of widespread anger within media circles, even though he is a close associate of the Al-Sisi regime, which is explained by some as the existence of a struggle between the wings of power. The coordinated attack against Heikal was launched after his statements last summer against the press and local media in Egypt. He affirmed that young people did not follow the news.

Heikal admitted that the Egyptian media is not trusted or popular anymore and lacks development and vision to regain its audience. A counterattack by media professionals from the security and intelligence services met Heikal’s statements.