Prior to the recent Egyptian Revolution, ousted former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had strict control over what news reporters could cover. That has all changed. 25TV is Egypt’s first 24-hour news and entertainment channel, covering stories the broadcast of which would previously have been grounds for arrest.
With a news show airing three times a week, Egyptians have ignored the slightly amateur footage in appreciation of stories they want to hear. 25TV has already taken huge risks covering amazing stories from the tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to post-revolution town hall style assemblies. It is great for Egyptians, but this conversation is bigger than just one television channel.
The protection provided by access to information
As Americans we value our freedom of press as one of our core, fundamental, undeniable rights. Mainly, that value comes from our forefathers’ understanding of the importance of access to information. Without information, an individual cannot be expected to make voting decisions. Without accurate information, one might be misguided into making a decision that wasn’t representative of his or her true beliefs. My point is, denying people the ability to understand what is happening in the world around them, whether that be on a local level or a global one, prevents true democracy from happening.
Major populated cities tend to be more liberal because those cities have more media news options, along other economic and social contributing factors. People can choose among favorite internet sites, television networks, multiple radio stations and more; people in media-heavy cities choose from a variety of options and the media also has multiple ways of interacting with them.
Ultimately, having at least one honest television news channel in Egypt is a good thing. A very good thing. It can offer diverse perspectives and a sense of community in a way that allows Egyptians to see themselves not as individuals fighting a lone struggle, but as a nation of citizens working toward sustainability together. Hopefully, 25TV is just a start. Cairo is one of the most populated cities in the world, so Egyptians will have a lot to cover. Giving voice to previously untold stories will be a huge part of rebuilding a country dedicated to the growth of its people.
Photo by: Rashad