Committee: State TV did not incite attack on Maspero protesters

A week after at least 27 civilians died during a Coptic protest, a committee described by Egyptian officials as "impartial" released a report Sunday that says state TV did not incite the violence. 

During coverage of the clashes outside the state TV building on 9 October, one presenter reported that Coptic protesters were attacking the armed forces and encouraged Egyptians to take to the streets and defend the military.

Information Minister Osama Heikal announced last Monday the formation of a committee to evaluate state media and several satellite station's coverage of the events.

Egyptian media professionals criticized the committee following the report's release, saying it merely reiterated the official line of Heikal and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The report denied that state TV incited violence but said it and private channels made mistakes, state-run news agency MENA reported Sunday.

MENA quoted Heikal as saying he has asked Tharwat Mekky, head of the Egyptian TV and Radio Union, to add his recommendations to the report and improve TV coverage of such events. Heikal added that the coverage was fair at times but that some correspondents and presenters were one-sided in their reports because they quoted the armed forces without giving protesters’ opinions.

State-run newspaper Al-Ahram quoted Heikal as saying he doesn’t need to apologize for state TV's coverage of the protests as the report did not find it guilty of inciting violence.

The coverage was imbalanced because it reported military casualties but did not report on the deaths of protesters, according to the report, which also said state TV was unable to produce a variety of news related to the incidents.

The report called for immediate investigations of those in charge of the coverage and taking serious steps to improve state TV performance, Heikal said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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