Information minister praises state TV coverage of Maspero violence

Information Minister Osama Heikal praised state television's coverage of the violence that broke out last Sunday at Maspero.

The blood incident killed at least 27 Coptic protesters and one member of the armed forces in the area surrounding the state television building, also known as Maspero. Hundreds were injured.

Activists and media professionals have criticized state television's coverage as inciting sectarianism.

An Egyptian lawyer filed a report on Thursday to Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud accusing the information minister and state TV presenters of inciting thuggery and assaults against peaceful Coptic protesters.

A state TV presenter called on citizens to defend the armed forces, saying they were being attacked by Coptic protesters, said lawyer Hamdy al-Assiouty in his report.

In an interview aired on state TV on Saturday, Heikal defended the coverage, saying it was “very good, although it had mistakes, I admit, but this confession isn’t a reason to question its performance.”

He expressed resentment over certain intellectuals’ criticism, calling on state TV workers not to listen to them.

State TV was just reporting, he said, and no incitement was broadcast.

What happened at Maspero was a "catastrophe, by all means” said the minister, who claimed it was the first time civilians have clashed with the armed forces since they first took to the streets to protect citizens and the revolution.

The minister also said that he is still awaiting a technical committee's evaluation of the TV coverage of the violence. He described whoever took part in the coverage as a hero.

Three private TV channels, Channel 25, Al-Hurra and Al-Mehwar, were raided by military police during the violence. Channel 25 was taken off air.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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