It's all under Control
Since President al-Sisi came into power in 2013, the media scene has changed completely. The style of a military Marshal, who never engaged in political action before ruling a country of over 80 million population, has reflected on the ownership of the media ("sisification"). His belief that criticism in mass media poses a great danger to the stability of the State plays out in two different ways: maintaining strong, dependent State-owned media institutions and interfering in the private media sector through the intelligence apparatus.
Historically, media ownership has always been paramount to the Egyptian State apparatus, allowing the executive authority to influence public opinion. This explains why more than a third of the 41 surveyed media outlets belong to the State directly through the National Media Authority and the National Press Authority.
In the last ten years of the Mubarak era (1981-2011), changes in media ownership coincided with liberal economic trends and increased business influence in the country. As such, out of 41 media outlets surveyed by the MOM, at least 14 were created during the Mubarak era and nine owners could pursue their media activities thanks to their ties to the Mubarak regime.
State-owned media includes State television, which offers a range of channels that focus on coverage on specific geographical areas such as Channel 5, which broadcasts from Alexandria Governorate. It also includes State-owned radio and its various networks, as well as State-owned print organizations. The main State-owned media organizations are:
- Egyptian radio
- Egyptian television
- The Egyptian Media Production City, which provides satellite broadcasting studios operating in Egypt
- Nile Sat - The Egyptian Satellite Co. which is responsible for managing the broadcasting of national, regional and international channels via an Egyptian-owned and operated satellite
- Al Ahram establishment
- Dar El Tahrir
- Ahkbar Al Youm
- Middle East News Agency
- Dar Al Hilal
- Rose Al Yousef Foundation
- Dar Al Maaref
- El kawmiah Distribution Company
One of the 2011 revolutionary demands included the establishment of independent bodies to manage the State-owned media and prevent political control of power over them. As a result, the post-post-revolutionary Constitution delivered just that, but President al-Sisi made two legislative moves to reverse these safeguards and turn the State-owned media into a tool for advancing his political agenda.
- Although the State-owned media have accumulated debts over decades, and do not succeed in being profitable, al-Sisi committed to the survival of these organizations and the continuation of their media outlets as they are, without reforming them, thus nullifying the revolutionary demands.
- In 2018, President al-Sis adopted a set of laws, designating himself and the executive branch to choose the leaders of the two regulatory bodies: the National Media Authority and the National Press Authority. Both authorities are appointing all administrative officials and editors in State-owned institutions and media, such as official radio, State television, press institutions and the official news agency. All of these officials are bound by the political directives issued by the Government and the President.
Moreover, the newly formed Supreme Council for Media Regulation gives the executive authority the right to restrict media freedom.