Workshop Report

Chatham House

This paper is a summary of discussions that took place at a workshop held in Cairo in June 2011, bringing together a group of Egyptian journalists, and activists from across the political spectrum.

Some of the main findings of the workshop include:

  • While there is more media pluralism in Egypt since the revolution there remain 'red lines' – perhaps self-imposed – in particular concerning criticism of the ruling military council.
  • Professionalism in media institutions has suffered as a result of the Mubarak era. Journalists and editors are used to referring decisions upwards, while reports are often not credibly sourced.
  • There is currently a vacuum in terms of regulation, and an urgent need to develop mechanisms to hold media accountable.
  • In the light of the grassroots 'bottom-up' approach to politics which many Egyptians are trying to encourage, the media need to reorient themselves to ensure that they are more relevant and closer to the people they are supposed to be serving.
  • There is a generation gap in attitudes towards new media: established media professionals are suspicious of online platforms such as Twitter and blogs, but young Egyptians see the potential of new media to 'fill in the gaps' where traditional media have failed.

Project: Egypt in Transition