Roundup of Egypt Media & Social Media Coverage – 29 Jan 2011

by TRG Alerts Admin on January 29, 2011

Rendon Special Report - Egypt

During crisis situations and major global events, our 24×7 media monitoring team develops media and social media summaries for internal or external awareness.  Below is today’s example, compiled this morning for the Egyptian demonstrations.

Egypt Media & Social Media Summary – 29 January 2011 (12 00 ET)

Produced by The Rendon Group

TOP STORIES:

  • The formation of the new government.
    • Prime Minister – Ahmad Shafiq, the former aviation minister, was appointed the new prime minister and will be responsible for forming the new government. (Al-Jazeera)
    • Vice President Omar Suleiman was appointed and sworn in as Egypt’s vice president. (Reuters)
      • Suleiman is the former intelligence chief and the first person to fill the vice presidential role in Mubarak’s 30 years of rule. (Reuters)
      • Reuters profile of Suleiman.
      • Twitter users are almost uniformly displeased with Omar Suleiman’s appointment as Vice President. (1234)
      • Protesters tried to storm the Ministry of Interior, following his appointment.
  • Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and the cabinet formally resigned. (XinhuaAl-Jazeera)
  • Curfew hours are now from 1600 to 0800 local time. (Reuters)
  • Mobile phone services were partially restored. (APReuters)
  • Thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo. (NYT, WP)
    • Many defied the overnight curfew. (BloombergAl-Jazeera)
    • Protesters were heavily concentrated in Tahrir Square in central Cairo.
      • Egyptian military forces surrounded the square with tanks. (NYT)
    • Security and health officials announced at least 35 people were killed in protests; 25 protesters and 10 policemen. (AFP)
      • A count done by Reuters puts the death toll at 74. (Reuters)
  • Mubarak’s two sons, Gamal and Aala, have reportedly arrived in London. (Al-Jazeera)
  • Mohammed El Baradei called the U.S. position on the Egyptian crisis a disappointment. (LA Times)
  • On Twitter, reports of looting proliferate; however the army continues to be viewed as a positive influence in Cairo and exchanges between the protesters and the army remain friendly. (1234)

EGYPT’S COMMENTS AND ACTIONS

  • President Hosni Mubarak defied calls for his resignation in a televised address. (WP)
    • He ordered the resignation of all cabinet ministers, which occurred this morning, and announced he would name a new government, which is slowly occurring. (NYT, BBC)
    • Reuters provides some local reaction to the speech.
  • Mohammed El Baradei declared that Mubarak “must go.” (AFPReuters)
  • Ahmed Ezz, widely seen as a linchpin of the regime, resigned from the ruling National Democratic Party, where he was a senior member. (Emirates 24/7)
  • The most influential cleric in the Muslim world, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, called for Mubarak to step down and leave Egypt. (AFP)
  • Military forces were deployed in major cities taking over for overwhelmed police forces in Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria. (NYT)
    • Police forces were driven from the Kasir al-Nil bridge by crowds in Cairo. (NYT)
    • The military secured the Egyptian Museum to protect it from damage and looting. (AP)
      • There are concerns about a repeat of Baghdad’s looting.
      • Looters apparently destroyed two mummies last evening. (Reuters)
  • Egyptian security officials have arrested at least 1,000 protesters. (Al Jazeera)
    • The AP reported security forces opened fire in Cairo and killed one protester.
  • Bedouin protesters attacked the state security headquarters in Rafah with hand grenades, killing three policemen. (Reuters)
  • The government maintained restrictions on communications within the country. (WP, WSJ)
  • Egypt’s stock exchange and its banks will be closed on Sunday. (Al-Jazeera)
  • Protests and gun fire have been reported in the affluent Cairo neighborhood of Mahdi.
    • Residents are trying to keep men with clubs and chains behind a blockade. (Al-Jazeera)

US COMMENTS & ACTIONS

  • President Obama gave a four minute speech on Friday about events in Egypt.
    • He called for Mubarak to hastily reform civil liberties, but did not call for a change in regime. (AP)
    • He warned against the use of violence by Mubarak in his speech and during a phone conversation with the Egyptian leader. (WP, AP, Reuters)
    • The White House announced that it would conduct a review of the $1.5 billion in military aid given to Egypt. (AP, Al-Jazeera)
    • Full transcript of the speech (Time)
  • The United States, for 3 years, has planned “regime change” with key dissidents to provide Egypt with democratic government. (Daily Telegraph)
  • The United States is urging the government to turn on the Internet. (@PressSec, AFP)

INTERNATIONAL COMMENTS & ACTIONS

  • Foreign tourists and Egyptians flocked to Cairo’s main airport to escape the unrest.
    • Travel could prove difficult as carriers announced cancellations or suspensions of service to Cairo. (AP)
    • British airlines altered flights due to the unrest. (Reuters)
  • Head of Amnesty International Salil Shetty that Mubarak’s decision to fire his cabinet “is a bit of a joke”, and will not mollify protesters. (AP)
  • European Union head Herman Van Rompuy called for an end to violence in Egypt. (AFP)
  • British Foreign Secretary William Hague called for President Mubarak to listen “urgently” to the aspirations of the Egyptian people. (AFP)
  • Brazil expects “peaceful solution” to crisis in Egypt. (DPA)
  • Australia upgraded it travel warning and encouraged concerned citizens to leave Egypt.
    • It also warned that it continued to receive reports that terrorists were planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners in Egypt. (AFP)
  • Japan upgraded its travel warning and advised its citizens not to travel to Egypt. (AFP)
  • Philippine diplomats are setting up evacuation centers for their nationals in case political violence escalates.
    • They’ve also warned citizens not to travel to Egypt. (AFP)
  • India’s Parliament Speaker, Meira Kumar, postponed a delegation trip to Egypt. (Iranian Republic News Agency)
  • The Chinese government has blocked the word “Egypt” from the country’s popular microblogging site, Sina.com, which has more than 50 million users. (AP, AFP)

MIDDLE EAST AND ARAB REACTIONS

  • IRAN
    • Iran’s foreign ministry declared its support for the anti-government protests in Egypt, calling them a “wave of Islamic awakening.” (DPA, CNN)
    • Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast asked the Egyptian government to exercise restraint towards the ongoing demonstrations.
  • IRAQ
    • Some Iraqis are claiming responsibility for inspiring the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, likening them to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. (AFP)
  • ISRAEL
    • Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered all government officials to offer no comments on the events in Egypt. (AP)
    • A few dozen protesters rallied in front of the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv. (Politico)
    • Planes carrying families of diplomats have flown back to Israel. (Al-Jazeera)
    • The Egyptian unrest dominated Israeli media. Israeli TV news channels provided hourly updates. Israel Radio reported extensively on developments and dubbed its broadcasts “Fire on the Nile.” (AP)
  • JORDAN
    • The leader of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, Hammam Saeed, warned that protests such as Egypt’s will spread across the Middle East and the people will unseat their “tyrants.” (AP)
      • Saeed further condemned the US’s support of “totaltarian” leaders in the region and their occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
      • He spoke at a rally in front of the Egyptian embassy in Amman where about 100 Islamists gathered.
      • Dozens of Islamists and trade unionists staged a noisy protest outside the Egyptian embassy in Amman. (AFP)
  • PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
    • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas phoned Mubarak and expressed his solidarity with Egypt’s security and stability. (CNN)
  • TURKEY
    • Turkish Airlines confirmed that flights will continue between the two countries. (Politico)
  • SAUDI ARABIA
    • Saudi King Abdullah held a telephone conversation with Mubarak and expressed his support for Mubarak. (CNN, Reuters)
      • The King strongly condemned the rallies and called the protesters “infiltrators” who sought the demise of their country.
      • Mubarak assured the King “that the situation is stable.”
    • The Saudi stock market fell by over 6.43% in response to the crisis in Egypt. (AFP, AP)
  • SUDAN
    • Thousands of activists took to Facebook to organize protests on Sunday, which is when the preliminary results of the referendum are to be released. (Al Arabiya)
  • SYRIA
    • The Syrian Ambassador to Tehran hoped foreigners would not interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt and Tunisia. (Iranian Republic News Agency)
  • TUNISIA
    • Tunisians are closely following the situation in Egypt and are said to be celebrating their role in empowering the Egyptian people to revolt. (WSJ)
  • UAE
    • Assistant Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Dr Tareq Al Hedan, said that the ministry is following the situation and is concerned for the well-being of UAE-national tourists and students. (Emirates 24/7)
  • YEMEN
    • Violence broke out when 100 protesters attempted to rally in front of the Egyptian embassy in San’a. (WSJ, Al-Jazeera)
      • Protesters asserted that they will not cease until President Saleh is ousted and meets a similar fate as Mubarak and Ben Ali.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS
Twitter

  • Key Themes
    • Twitter users are almost uniformly displeased with Omar Suleiman’s appointment as Vice President. (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • There are widespread reports of looting and car theft throughout Egypt. (1, 2)
      • People are setting up barricades to protect their streets, as looting and violence increases. The Army is not enforcing order.
      • Some Twitter users argue that this is the work of the police who use looting as an excuse to attack protesters. (1, 2, 3)
      • In response, some protesters have made “citizen arrests” and handed the policemen over the Army.
    • The Egyptian Army continues to be viewed as a positive influence in Cairo and exchanges between the protesters and the Army remain friendly. (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Users report explosions in Cairo. It is unclear who is responsible for these explosions. (1, 2, 3)
    • There are rumors of gunfire in Tora prison near the wealthy locale of Maadi, where opposition groups have been imprisoned. (1, 2)
      • It seems that the gunmen could be trying to release the prisoners.
      • The prison is on fire.
    • There are reports of repeated gunfire near the presidential palace.
    • Police presence seems to have disappeared.
      • Citizens have taken over some of the duties of the police in their absence, particularly traffic management. (1, 2, 3)
      • A rumor on Twitter alleges that plainclothes policemen are firing at protesters. This has provoked a “street war.”
    • It appears that mobile phones and landlines are working, however internet remains down. (1, 2, 3)
  • Key Communicators
    • Jan25Voices: @Jan25voices
      • Using phones and other means to speak with Egyptians behind the blocked internet.
    • Al Jazeera: @AJELive
      • Al Jazeera’s Twitter page. Providing updates of developments.
    • Sandmonkey: @Sandmonkey
      • Prominent opposition blogger who was briefly arrested. He is tweeting reports through a third-party in Jordan.
    • Amr El Beleidy: @beleidy
      • In Cairo, tweeting first-hand reports, and reports from friends.
    • Rowand Helmii: @RHelmii
      • Continues to publish original content, participating in protests.
    • Dan Nolan: @NolanJazeera
      • Continues to tweet from Cairo via a third party.
    • Jonathan Rugman: @jrug
      • Journalist for Channel 4 News, in Cairo.
    • Louis B Lewarne: @dancefromiraq
      • Tweeting from Cairo.
    • Ramy Raoof: @RamyRaoof
      • One of the few users from Egypt still able to publish original content.
    • Ben Wedeman: @bencnn
      • CNN journalist in Cairo
    • Nic Robertson: @nicrobertson
      • CNN journalist in Cairo.
    • Ayman Mohyeldin: @Aymanm
      • Al Jazeera journalist in Cairo.
    • Jon Jensen: @jonjensen
      • Journalist in Cairo
  • Key Hashtags

Facebook

  • A Facebook cause strongly argues that protesters are not the ones responsible for the looting.
  • Inspired by the events in Egypt, a Sudan Facebook group is organizing a protest in Khartoum and other cities on January 30. (AFP)
    • The group has 10,000 followers so far.

Video

  • A YouTube video shows the Army preventing a clash between protesters and the police.
  • NY Times’ blog, The Lede, posted video coverage of the continued protests.
  • MSNBC posted an Al-Jazeera video clip of continued protests this morning in Cairo, which revealed that the people are demanding Mubarak leave power and for the regime to end.
    • The video also indicated that a corpse is being paraded around as an example of a casualty caused by state power.
    • There appeared to be no clear end of protesters.
    • Protesters were asking the military to help them in their fight.
  • CNN continued to post new clips on breaking information.
    • One CNN video showed the new Vice President, Omar Suleiman, being sworn in.
    • Another clip showed new footage of protests and gunshots around the Ministry of Interior building.
      • The video confirmed it is the police that are continuing to shoot, not the military.
      • The commentators confirmed that protesters are being injured, with a few noted to be spitting out blood.
    • A clip of the UN’s Ban Ki-moon was also posted this morning, with Ban urging the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia to heed to their people’s wishes for peace and stability.
    • There was new footage of protesters in Alexandria, where the commentator said there appeared to be conflicted feelings by security forces in their duty to the state and their sympathy for the people.
  • The BBC showed the destruction left on the streets of Cairo this morning.
  • YouTube users continue to post videos from yesterday’s demonstrations, showing violence against protesters. (1, 2)

Images

  • Images show large crowds gathering in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. (1, 2)
    • Protesters engage in mass prayers, following Suleiman’s appointment.
  • An image shows a human wall protecting the museum.
  • Photos are circulating showing protesters taking on the duties of the policeman, including directing traffic.
  • Ramy Raoof’s Flickr photostream shows the popular resistance to Mubarak’s regime.
  • Photos from yesterday’s protests are being posted, showing police clashes with protesters. (1, 2)
    • An image shows water cannons being sprayed on praying protesters.
    • Another image shows riot police attacked unarmed women.

Blogs

  • On developments:
    • Al-Jazeera’s liveblog is providing updates roughly every 15 minutes.
    • Blogs continue to liveblog events.
      • US and British embassies are surrounded by tanks according to BBC Liveblog. (BBC)
      • Enduring America reports on the fear created due to looting and armed gangs in Cairo.
      • The Lede posted videos and eyewitness accounts.
    • The Arabist provided boots-on-the-ground reports of the aftermath of the protests in Cairo and asserted that the vast majority of protesters are peaceful.
    • The offiical White House Blog indicates that President Obama spent the 40 minutes of his daily briefing focused solely on Egypt. (White House)
    • ReadWriteWeb looks at the methods used by some Egyptian users to bypass the censorship.
      • InSecurity Complex also details some methods of getting news out of Egypt.
      • Mashable notes that on January 28th, 8% of tweets containing the word ‘Egypt’, were located in Egypt.
    • Twitter reinforced its commitment to freedom of expression, without specifically mentioning Egypt.
    • Blogs have praised Al-Jazeera’s reporting on the Egyptian protests. (1, 2, 3)
    • Wired’s Epicenter reported that Al Jazeera is offering free news on Egypt to other networks.
  • Analysis:
    • NPR’s The Two-Way blog suggested that the most important thing to watch is the actions of the military.  While they were warmly received by protesters, they still report to Mubarak.
    • Wired’s Threat Level analyzes the ease with which Egypt was able to deny Internet service, despite a fairly developed Internet infrastructure.
    • Reuter’s Great Debate blog posted a post title “If Egypt falls, Syria must follow.”
    • Babylon and Beyond posted an analysis of the general conditions surrounding the protests and why Tunisia is serving as a model for Egypt and other nations.
    • A post on Newsweek questions the resolve of Tunisian and Egyptian protesters, noting that Tunisians have only gone “half-way” and pro-democracy advocates should not jump to conclusions.

Other

  • The NYT’s developed an interactive map with locations of the protests.
  • The Arabic News Network for Human Rights Information is crowdsourcing information from the protests.

IRANIAN MEDIA COVERAGE

  • Fars News Agency and Iranian Labour News Agency reported that protesters continued to call for Mubarak’s resignation Saturday after his cabinet resigned.
  • Iranian Labour News Agency reported on continued protests in Tahrir square in Cairo as well as the port city of Ismailiya east of Cairo.
  • Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting cited Egyptian sources saying that 100 people have died and 2,000 have been injured in protesting the past two days.
  • Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting published a Reuter’s Q+A piece on what to expect in Egypt.
    • While the protests might have gotten underway from educated middle class Egyptians, the poor have become involved as they largely depend on state subsidies for food.
  • Islamic Republic News Agency spoke with Middle East expert, Fazel Feizi, about Egypt.
    • Regarding the resignation of the cabinet: “The measure taken by President Mubarak may be effective in the short-term, but it cannot satisfy the people of Egypt.”
    • Feizi said that the protests were not just about unemployment, but were related to political and other societal issues in the country.
  • PressTV reported on protesters’ attempt to break into the Interior Ministry.
    • El Baradei said that protests would continue until Mubarak steps down, while the Muslim Brotherhood called on a peaceful transfer of power.
    • World public opinion is on the side of the Egyptian protesters as demonstrations have sprung up internationally in Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Greece, France, Turkey and the US.
    • US VP Biden said that it was not time for Mubarak to resign.
      • Meanwhile al-Akhbar journalist, Omar Nashabi, said that the US supported dictatorships across the Arab world.
      • Middle East expert, Azzam Tamimi, said that the US and the West have not learned the lessons from the Tunisian revolution. He predicted that similar revolutions would spread to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen and other Arab nations.

ARAB MEDIA COVERAGE

  • Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, Tariq Alhomayed, said that all Egyptians, and Arabs, are correct in demanding social, economic and political opportunities, just not through the use of violence.
    • “We must not burn our own countries to the ground, or destroy what we have gained. We must not increase our losses or deepen our wounds. Our nations are our own; we must protect them, regardless of our demands, or our anger.”
    • Alhomayed also pointed to hypocrisies made by the US, Britain and France regarding policies in Egypt and Tunisia.
      • “Washington’s hypocrisy can be seen in its concern with regards to the demonstrations in Egypt, whilst doing nothing to stop the injustice suffered by the Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis.”
      • He said it is interesting for Britain to comment on the situation when it responded fiercely during its students’ protest.
      • “Paris intercepted a shipment of anti-riot equipment that was being sent to the Ben Ali regime [before its collapsed].”
  • The Gulf News carried an opinion piece in the British Guardian that said while sites like Facebook and Twitter were influential in creating the current dissent in the country, it was the 2008 textile worker demonstration in the Nile Delta town of Mahalla Al Kubra that inspired those on the streets today.
  • Arab dailies generally cited international wire sources in their coverage. (AFP, AP, Reuters, AFP)

END

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