Ibrahim Saleh

understanding the minds of egyptians

Journalism exits in a cultural context, which must be understood within its local socio-political and economic context before it can be accurately evaluated. Egypt is in a state of flux and is considered a classic example of how journalism practice has been affected by the current distributional changes th at altered the rules, and positioned journalism at its lowest ebb since the ‘Open Door Policy’ was initiated by late President Sadat in the 1970s. Problems and challenges of journalism in Egypt are endless that range from ambiguities in the legal framework, deterioration in the professional and skills standards, and the disconnection from reality. Such bleak picture of reality is a logical result of the long years of the usual practice of the state ‘turning a blind eye’ to everything from finances, to budge ts, and circulation claims, as long as it has control over media content in its favor. It is thus, very natural to find journalism is strictly manipulated by state intervention, censorship, legal and regulatory issues. Besides, the increasing religious tone has added further implications on the students enrolled in public institutions.

Accordingly, Egyptian journalists are still used to be on the front lines, fighting for basic human rights, while being confronted with oppressive laws and regulations, and certainly would never think of having a future, unless they enter an automatic alliance with the ‘Patron State’. But the worst syndrome  lies  in  the  huge  discrepancy between  the  standards  of  living,  amenities  and  facilities available to those, who are from wealthy or poor families, from city or rural backgrounds, or those enrolled in public or private universities. The research methodology will be based on assessment through qualitative research (intensive interviews with media experts and politicians in different African countries) as well as quantitative research (analyzing the level of diversity, efficiency, and comprehensiveness in the coverage of vital issues in governmental versus private media in different countries). The research process will involve a historical analysis of each society in transition. Such multi-step research is hoped to help comprehend the different experiences of imposed democracies in the African countries as well as distinguish between possible, probable, and preferable futures of communication in Africa. Obviously, there is still a lot to do in the research done on the current flagrant gap, debilitating the will for profound social change, between the rhetoric of liberty and the reality of double-standard policies in media studies in societies in transitions like the case in Egypt.

Ibrahim Saleh Profile Picture 100 x 100 ACUNS member Dr. Ibrahim Saleh originally published this article in the African Journal of Political Science and International Relations. Dr. Saleh is a senior lecturer and the convener of political communication at the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town. His most recent research investigates the “mediatisation” of regional political dynamics and the indigenous freedom agenda.

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