Statement of Journalist Yosri Fouda: Telling the Truth or Staying Silent
Published Saturday, October 22, 2011
Arab renowned journalist Yosri Fouda issued a statement lamenting the state of the media covering the Arab revolts and commenting on his decision to cancel his talk show Akher Kallam set up in the wake of the revolution. The following is a translation of the statement as published on his facebook page.
Cairo, October 21th 2011
In the name of God the merciful and compassionate,
There are three things I always try to be mindful of: my conscience before God, my duties toward my country, and my attention to the principles of my profession. My commitment to these ideals have moved me to issue the first press release of my life, after a journalistic career nearing 20 years. I issue this release for those who care and in appreciation to those who have honored me with their trust. I also do so out of self-respect.
The last nine months of my career are the dearest to my heart, following a beautiful revolution in our country — a revolution that many of us feel some don’t want to remain beautiful. And it is no secret that the pre-revolution mentality is still imposed on us, as it was before, and maybe worse now. This is not why people gave their lives, their eyes, and their body parts. For the freedom of this country and the dignity of living, every honest man needs to take a stand.
My stand, as a citizen who is afraid for his country, is limitless. But my stand today as a journalist motivates me to observe the clear decline in the freedom of professional media, compared to complacence towards cheap and propaganda-style journalism. This decline and this complacence stem from a belief by the powers that be that the media can deny an existing reality or create one that does not presently exist. That is the main issue, and that is the larger context that I do not wish to be a part of.
And I understand that all the parties in revolutionary Egypt were, and still are, going through a rich phase of learning that at times brings optimism — and at times depression — but there is another reality that has become more clear in the last few months. We now feel that there are serious efforts to retain the essence of the regime that people wanted overthrown after its proven corruption, immorality, and collaborationism. And these efforts have come in various forms, some inherited and some newly minted, but all intended to directly or indirectly pressure those still believing in the revolution’s noble aims toward self-censorship in talking about the unbeautiful realities of today.
I have been and will always be proud of “ONTV” and of what its personnel have accomplished under duress, as I have and always will be proud of every free, courageous Egyptian voice not afraid of blame when doing the right thing. Egypt is indeed full of free people like this. And although I don’t know what pushed me to search for another way in life, but I do have numerous reasons moving me to cancel my show Akher Kallam indefinitely. This is my form of self-censorship. I have the choice between saying the truth or nothing at all.
This action is a shout from my heart, prompted by love of my country and aimed at the common good. Between the motive and the aim resides a deep faith that Egypt deserves so much better than this.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.