Tuesday’s papers: Live coverage ban causes rift as Mubarak’s trial adjourns

Tuesday's papers hold no surprises for readers. As expected, both state-owned and independent papers have extensive coverage of the second appearance of Egypt’s ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons behind bars at their trial.

Egypt’s flagship paper Al-Ahram publishes a picture of Mubarak, which dominates other papers’ fronts as well. In the picture, he is lying on a bed and wearing a blue suit in a courtroom cage. The state-owned paper reports that Judge Ahmed Refaat banned live broadcasting of the trials of Mubarak, his sons and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly because hundreds of lawyers have created chaos during the proceedings.

The decision was met with deep division in the public, as the call for transparent, live broadcasts of the trials has been one of the crucial demands of protesters since the downfall of the Mubarak regime.

Al-Gomhurriya, another state-run paper, dedicates its entire fourth page to covering the different reactions of people on the street, as well as political parties, to the decision.

The paper reports that revolutionaries, including spokesperson Tarek al-Kholi of the April 6 Youth Movement – Democratic Front, expect that the decision will arouse doubts over the credibility of the trials. However, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Tagammu Party and the Wasat Party support the decision, in order to decrease the number of lawyers seeking media attention.

Reporting on the same news, Youm7 writes that activists have posted calls on their Facebook accounts to protest against the decision to ban coverage.

During the three-hour session, Judge Refaat decided to merge the two cases of the former president and interior minister, in which both are accused of conspiracy to kill protesters during the uprising. The daily opposition Wafd Party writes that the decision, which came before the adjournment of the trial until 5 September, was a response to repeated requests by lawyers representing martyrs’ families.

In today’s issue, Al-Dostour posts ironic headlines on Mubarak’s status.

“Mubarak replaces his Swiss watch with an IV … and exchanges smiles with his sons in front of cameras,” states a sub-headline on its front page. The independent paper prints another sarcastic headline on its third page, reading: “Mubarak in cage for the second time … ill … sad … acting in front of the cameras.”

Aside from detailing the Mubarak trial, the news of the murder of one militant and arrest of 11 others in North Sinai manages to find room on the front pages of Tuesday’s papers.

Al-Ahram publishes that both Egyptian army units and security forces succeeded in a raid on suspected militants who took part in the exploding of the natural gas pipeline to Jordan and Israel, which left two policemen dead.

Al-Tahrir features a report on the first statement of the Egyptian Bloc, a political and electoral alliance announced Monday at a conference held at the Journalists Syndicate. The coalition is comprised of 14 political groups, including the Tagammu Party, Democratic Front Party, Freedom Egypt Party, Popular Alliance, National Association for Change, Egyptian Communist Party, and National Council.

It writes that the coalition will run in the upcoming parliamentary polls under a unified candidate list and with slogans representing the Egyptian spirit of moderation after 25 January revolution. The paper quotes prominent presenter Hamdy Qandeel, who announced the statement, as saying, “We’re a political bloc seeking to develop the Egyptian political, social and economic reality.”  

Ibrahim Eissa’s editorial on Al-Tahrir’s front page starts by raising a question, “Do you expect Mubarak will be tried with justice?” Eissa then goes into monologue expressing that while he is hopeful, he does not believe justice can be fully achieved.

He clarifies this stance, claiming that it is difficult to realize justice based on laws that have been drafted by corrupt authorities to serve an autocrat.

“The law itself can be an oppressor … full of gaps or open to manipulation," Eissa writes.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

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