Demonstration to purge state media of corruption

Scores of protesters on Sunday marched from Tahrir Square to the state TV building in Maspero to demand the dismissal of corrupt officials from state media.

Protesters carried coffins as a metaphor for the death of “media ethics” in state-owned media. Protesters say that TV coverage in the past year has been extremely biased against the revolution.

The coffins were meant to symbolize values, such as honesty, truth, vision, integrity and credibility, absent from state media.

 “The military council is manipulating the media to empower the counter-revolution,” said Azza Suleiman, head of the Egyptian Center for Women's Legal Assistance.

Commentators say that following the fall of President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February, the state-run channels have attempted to balance their coverage with reporting of protests against the government and the ruling military council.

However, protesters in Sunday’s march said that the change has been limited, and that official media outlets attempt to denigrate the revolution and its achievements.

“We chose to stand here before the state television building, which underestimates the intelligence of the Egyptian people,” said Gawaher al-Taher, a female demonstrator.

In October, state TV came under fire due to its biased coverage of an army crack-down on a Coptic march against religious discrimination. Twenty-eight protesters were killed by the army and more than 300 were injured.

State TV accused Coptic demonstrators of firing shots that killed three army troops, a mistaken report that prompted fights between Christians and Muslims later that night.

In November, when police cracked down on protesters in Tahrir, leaving scores dead and injured, activists slammed state TV for its biased stance on the clashes.

They cited as examples one camera angle that only focused on a burning police vehicle, and anchors' descriptions of protesters as "rioters." The anchors also aired phone calls from commentators who claimed the protesters did not belong to the 25 January revolution.

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