Egypt’s Lost Truth
Amal Dib and AbdelGhany Sayed on the Transformation of the Media Scene in 2012–2013
Amal Dib and AbdelGhany Sayed give an overview of the highly politicized Egyptian media scene between 2012 and 2013 and, especially, its power to shape domestic perception of ongoing political struggles. Before, during, and after the so-called Arab Spring, those in power have suppressed the media outlets of their rivals: the forces of political Islam on the one hand and that of Egypt’s old and deep (military) state on the other.
Media contributes to the process of writing history. It provides the public with constant updates, building up their view of what is happening. This is often regarded as the objective “truth.” But “truth,” as Michel Foucault noted, does not exist independent of power. Truth is a social product and therefore relative. Much like knowledge, it is bound to power and operates among the individuals and institutions that generate and sustain it. In countries undergoing political transformation, like Egypt, the media take up the role not only of informing the public on those changes but also of shaping public opinion, the narrative(s) around the present, and the very course of history.
This paper examines the media’s integral role in Egypt’s ongoing conflict. It offers an analysis of how the media have become a battleground for political conflicts, how the authorities have suppressed the media outlets of their rivals, and how this, as well as the aggravation of the political conflict, affects the way individuals see the conflict and overall developments in the country.