Week 4: Egypt


Unrest in Egypt has entered its seventh day. A million people are expected on the streets tomorrow for further protest despite a cabinet reshuffle and promises of reform. There is extensive coverage of the international response to the crisis and the impact of the president’s increasing isolation. The Guardian declaring that “the US is moving steadily closer towards ditching its long-standing ally… Mubarak now has few options left.”

The media revealed the army has withdrawn its support of the president and pledged not to use violence against the protesters. However, The Guardian informed us “It was not clear whether the pledge not to use force was intended to draw the sting from protests or signal a weakening of support for the president”.

Either way the tone in the press is clear; the president is on his way out. This opens the debate of who or what will come next.
The speculation is focused on opposition leader ElBaradei. The Independent titles its exclusive interview with the protest leader as “Mohamed ElBaradei: The man who would be President”.

The leader has the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that scares some of our less optimistic journalists.
Darker forecasts are prominent, the Daily Mail’s John Bradley leading the way, “I expect Mubarak will be gone from power and… (Egypt) will be plunged further into political and economic chaos.” Warning that, “standing on the sidelines waiting patiently to exploit just such a scenario will be the extremist Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.”.

The Telegraph reserved judgement on the suggested leader, and highlighted ElBaradei’s words: “Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei says the Egyptian people will decide their own destiny as anti-Government protests continue.”

The papers coverage of this upheaval can be summed up as uncertain and, at least in the Daily Mail’s case, somewhat fearful for the future of Egypt. This reveals a degree of consistency with reporting of the Tunisian crisis, again the press seem unsure what to make of the situation. Although Tunisia has slipped away from the front pages recently, the current writing on Egypt, and its rather more significant position both regionally and with the USA and EU, mean it is unlikely that we are going to see the end of this story soon.

There was one paper where it was a more difficult to find a story on Egypt; The Sun. It focused on the stories and experiences of British tourists, barely mentioning the revolution.


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