Two years ago, I wrote and published these coming lines regarding journalism in Egypt, however, a lot of incidents took place… so here I am republishing what I wrote before hoping to find someone in our syndicate and the recently established official councils who might read and care:
“It happened that I have been and still am managing a branch office of one of the biggest Arab newspapers of a Gulf country here in Egypt for more than thirty years… it also happened that I have seen the bad handwritings of many big writers and was able to decipher them… I also revised the articles of tens of journalists whom some of them became stars in media… I also used to reformulate the writings of some of those and almost go mad of the poor Arabic grammar and wrong spellings at some and absence of journalistic integrity at some others!
That’s why I have been and still am calling upon the syndicate of journalists to stand against such illiteracy of all kinds in the field… either journalistic, cultural, political or morale… such thing that went viral in the journalism field and even some are boasting about it considering that since they made it to the chair of editor-in-chief or TV screens – despite their complete ignorance – then that means they are genius and one of a kind!
It also happened many times that I knew many colleagues who were interested in union work of the syndicate, practiced it and even became experts in this… I also met people of the same kind; those who were hosted during the preparations for the elections of the syndicate council or head… here, there is a lot of details I may later write about and publish… from my point of view, of course!
In such regard, I remember when I disagreed to the unanimity of the Nasserist journalists to elect a certain person as head of the syndicate… and the punishment I received was depriving me from writing my periodical article in the Nasserist newspaper of Garidat Al-Arabi… not to mention the insults and defamation that nailed me.
My colleagues in the syndicate of the top leaders and symbols of fighting for the freedom of journalism and public freedoms know what I know about some other figures in the syndicates who enjoy this pre-described illiteracy… they also know about others who have made illegal profits from Hajj and Umra trips, consumer durables, lands, real estates, advertisements, Sheikh al-Fasi, normalization with the Zionist enemy and illegal practices of enlisting secretaries and cronies as members in our prominent syndicate… despite all this and despite recurrence of such cases and bragging in public about such violations of the syndicate’s ethics and morals, the syndicate did not adopt a decisive action against any of those who committed such awful deeds.
I write all this and am ready to give more details while the journalists’ community is going through what can be regarded as real struggle for the freedom of journalism and for maintaining the texts and spirit of the Egyptian constitution in this field since I have always believed that the best and nearest way to defend the freedom of journalism and rights of the journalists’ community is that this community – through the syndicate and by the efforts of its leaders – shall do its fundamental duties… atop of these is retraining hundreds of journalists inflicted with the pre-described illiteracy; proper pronunciation, spelling, grammar, profession rules, cultural, political and even morale illiteracy.
Also above the list of those duties is maintaining discipline of the profession practices in order to prevent journalism from being the open door to stab our country in its security, cohesion, strength, balance and role either on the regional or international domain… we cannot let it be that the journalist be like that surgeon who went declaring that he had to sacrifice the lives of mother and baby for the operation to succeed!
I here wonder with others: when will the syndicate of journalists question those members who consider themselves stars in the media and political work arenas over suspicions that may reach into real facts concerning their fortunes, projects and their connections to media and political capitals either domestically or abroad… also over suspicions of the same level confirming that they combine between working in journalism and working to other entities with opposite interests?
We all are against any deviation from the executive authority over the constitution, even if done by law… we also stand against any tyranny of any kind or degree practiced by any entity that may turn us back to times that yielded all what we witness today of fragmentation, dismantle, destruction and terrorism… so you can imagine the case when such deviation and tyranny is practiced against journalism and freedom of speech… we all have to stand against all what I mentioned about the journalists’ community.
I know that some of those dear to me will get angry because of what I am writing right now… and I can almost hear some of them angrily blaming me: “this is always you… choosing the worst timing to express your opinion as if you want to look different… all what you said is right by the timing is not right at all… you should not have mentioned these faults while the journalists’ community is fighting a decisive battle like this”.
I here say that the battle time is the best time to achieve all this… it provides the best environment to correct faults, to make things right and to get rid of all those not belonging to our profession… moreover, it’s not only about journalists… it’s about the whole country… since our country is going through a battle that is fiercer and more dangerous than any of the ones it had before starting from the invasions of Hyksos, Persians, Greeks and Romans… to the British and Israeli occupations.
According to the same standards, it is not possible that the army, police and the whole people are going through such battle then we find some journalists stabbing our country in the back with false information that discourage those fighters, undermine the will of those resisting, let the public masses question and even lose trust in those in charge of defending our country, its independence, civilization, culture and future… it is also not possible to have such confusing mix between the right to think, express freely, the right to possess information and other rights directly connected to the profession of journalism and between misleading and undermining the security of our country… therefore, the necessary duty of defending the rights of journalism is absolutely connected to the necessary duty of defending our country, its security, civilization, culture and future.
These were words in my mouth that I long refrained from saying… but compared to the enormous challenges Egypt is facing, I had to spit them out.
I believe the real battle journalists and their syndicate should fight is the radical change to amend the journalists’ community into order to eliminate any professional dysfunctionality… and to those who will get angry because of the “timing”, I ask: when was that right time that never occurred during more than half a century of the syndicate life?... why has no one started reforming and correcting in times when the syndicate was not going through any sacred battle?”.
Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar
This article was published in Al Ahram newspaper on April 27, 2017.
To see the original article, go to:
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