Tens of thousands sign online protest slating CNN’s Egypt coverage

Egypt Morsi overthrown

Egypt Morsi overthrown

Nearly 50 000 people have signed an online petition slating news giant CNN’s coverage of the events surrounding the overthrow of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

The campaign, which is hosted by online advocacy and fundraising application Causes, claims that CNN and the US government have displayed a deliberate bias toward the Muslim Brotherhood, with which Morsi is affiliated.

“You should be ashamed of yourself. Your coverage of the revolution was totally biased in favor of the MB, just like your Government,” the campaign page says.

According to Causes, over 60% of the campaign signatures so far have come from users in Egypt, something which it says “is another great example of how people are leveraging social platforms as a vehicle for expressing public opinion”.

Among the most obvious grievances expressed by campaign signatories is that CNN described Morsi’s overthrow as a coup d’état rather than a democratic transition, with the army mediating the will of the people.

In fact, a number of campaigns have taken issue with this phrasing. One petition urges western media to “stop referring to the removal of former President Morsy as a ‘coup d’etat’.”

“This was a popular revolution,” it says, “Ending Morsy’s [sic] rule was the realization of the democratic ideals that brought Egyptians to Tahrir Square. Yes, this transition was mediated by the army, but it began at the hands of the Egyptian people”.

There are however other — admittedly less popular — campaigns, such as this one, which urges the people of Egypt to “take back the coup and reset Egypt democracy”.

It’s message to Egyptian leaders is that Egyptian democracy should be allowed to stay its course:

We, the EGYPTIAN PEOPLE have been waiting long to get our democracy and to express our thoughts freely in a free country… After going through a lot of democratic steps and after standing for long hours to VOTE in 6 different parliemental and presidential elections, we demand the Egyptian Army, Azhar Sheikh, the Egyptian Pope, Mr Baradei and the protestors to respect our votes and to take back as soon as possible their MILITARY COUP AGAINST THE FIRST ELECTED EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT… and we will be glad to restand for electing a new president in the early elections they asked for…

The action on Causes mirrors how pro and anti Morsi protesters have used social media to broadcast their respective messages.

Given social media’s importance during the 2011 revolution that ultimately led to the elections which saw Morsi take power, it’s hardly surprising that social media is again playing an important role. What has changed however, is that Facebook, Twitter and their ilk are no longer just tools used by ordinary protesters but political leaders too.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian army respectively have for instance used Facebook to call for an uprising and to appeal for calm.



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