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The Worst Source For News?

Ranked as the worst news outlet in Egypt covering the recent presidential elections, Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr is under fire once again. We speak to ex-anchor Karem Mahmoud to find out more...

By now it should be very evident to anyone who has ever watched Al Jazeera's affiliate, Mubashir Misr, that there coverage of events since June 30th uprising, has been nothing short of biased propaganda in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Supporting these claims is Egypt's Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights, who on Tuesday released a report that suggests the 'news' channel provided the least professional coverage of the recent Egyptian elections.

Of the 12 channels surveyed in the report, Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr finished on the bottom, obtaining an overall score of 9. The abysmal score was achieved after reviewing several factors ranging from "accuracy of information broadcast, language used by anchors and reporters, level of professionalism of the channel as well as objectivity and fairness of the programs," Ayman Akil, the director of the Maat Foundation, told Al Arabiya News, adding that “They portrayed Sisi as a criminal and dictator while accusing Sabahi of helping Sisi fake the democratic presidential election.”

It should be mentioned that Egypt suffers extreme bias from both sides of the political spectrum, and speaking about the recent elections, a former Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr Anchor, Karem Mahmoud, admits that “yes, it was biased and very selective in the coverage by concentrating on the negative aspects of the election process. They were not fair at all. As usual, they aligned with the MB's views.” It was this bias coverage of events in the aftermath of June 30th that prompted Mahmoud to leave his post on July 8th 2013. Since his departure, he believes that “the standards have declined severely, but from their point of view, they are doing a good job.” Today, Mahmoud is a News Editor at new channel Al Ghad Al Araby.

In September, the Egyptian court ordered the closure of Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr, accusing it of spreading lies and false information in hopes of destabilising the state. Despite admitting the coverage is bias, Mahmoud reiterates that “the government has already taken many actions like closing their outlets in Egypt. But I think this shouldn't happened. Egypt is trying to silence Al Jazeera using a great pressure on Qatar. At the same time the "loyal channels'" coverage is just as scandalous.”

The Maat Foundation released a total of four reports regarding the media coverage of the electoral process. Ranking high on their list were The Egyptian Scene or (Al Hadith al Misry) on Al Arabiya News Channel’s sister channel, Al Hadath, as well as Events in Egypt (Hadath fi Misr).

As always, it is never possible to distinguish news from propaganda, and as a result any news received in Egypt should always be met with an appropriate level of skepticism.