Egyptian media’s reportage on the death of their former President Mohammed Morsi has come under the scanner. Nearly all newspapers in Egypt carried the same 42-word story about Morsi’s death. It was reportedly sent to news organisations by the government and was carried on the inside pages of the newspapers, usually reserved for reporting on criminal cases. The handout omitted any mention of Morsi being a former or even overthrown president, and instead referred to him either as “deceased” or “accused”.
The trend continued across Egyptian satellite television channels, such as the one above where the anchor reads a quick brief which ends with the words, “sent from a Samsung device.” Presumably, the producers of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service-owned channel directly pasted an email message on the anchor’s teleprompter.
According to Al Jazeera, the only major daily paper featured the news of Morsi’s death on its front page was Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The 67-year old former President collapsed in a court hearing on Monday. He was later declared dead at a Cairo hospital. Egypt’s first democratically elected President, Morsi assumed office in June 2012 after the Arab Spring ousted military dictator Hosini Mubarak.
Morsi’s term came to an abrupt end in July 2013 when he was overthrown by massive protests led by Egypt’s current President Abdul Fatah el-Sisi.
While el-Sisi consolidated power and reportedly reigned in or manipulated much of the Egyptian media, Morsi was indicted for espionage, and charged with jailbreak, insulting the judiciary and for being involved in terrorism.
Serving a prison sentence for charges relating to the deaths of protestors in 2012, Morsi was reportedly tortured in jail and denied medical services which led to his death, alleged the Human Rights Watch.
At the time of his death he was facing at least six trials.