Pro-democracy protests in Iran top the news agenda, but similar tensions in Egypt pass unreported
Here’s a thought experiment:
pick a random Middle Eastern country led by an unpopular autocrat whose legitimacy is being challenged by a growing wave of public dissent.
Add in widespread allegations of electoral fraud, and increasingly violent confrontations on the street between protesters and security services — clashes that have left many civilians dead.
Now imagine this politically volatile state is a major player in the area, and that change at the top could have an explosive effect on the geopolitical dynamics of the entire region.
How much press coverage do you think it would receive in the west?
For the sake of convenience, let’s keep things manageable by narrowing that down a bit.
How many news articles do you think such a country would generate in the British broadsheets over the years 2008 and 2009?
If you guessed at 7,098, well done: you’re spot-on.
Pub quiz aficionados may also wish to jot down the figure of 3,305 — an equally correct answer.
So are many Egyptians, who have seen their intense and sometimes deadly struggle against the repressive regime that rules them almost completely sidelined by the international media.
Not only has their country attracted less than half the volume of newsprint lavished on Iran in the past two years, but the vast majority of Egypt-focused articles tend to concentrate on matters relating to tourism or archaeology,
whereas nearly all the Iranian coverage is political in nature.
Despite ongoing efforts by NGOs to raise important human rights issues before the UN Human Rights Council, abusive regimes including China, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and others continue to stonewall and silence criticism and those that seek to shine a spotlight on grave human rights abuse around the world.