‘We are watching you’ will monitor media during presidential elections
A man casts his vote at a polling station - YOUM7/Ahmed Ismail

CAIRO: A number of rights activists announced the launch of a campaign called “We are watching you”, which will monitor the performance of the Egyptian media during presidential elections scheduled to take place on May 26 and 27.

The group will observe visual and print media, as well as political parties, civil society and non-governmental organizations’ handling of the elections, and aims to provide an assessment report tracing the positive and negative points of the elections, according to the group’s coordinator Emad Hegab, Youm7 reported Saturday.

“The group is independent and committed to transparency and objectivity towards presidential candidates,” Hegab added.

The global online electoral guide, ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, states that the role of the media in elections coverage is “essential to a smooth democratic progress, and should be playing the role of the monitor.”

Between providing analytic articles and live coverage, the media’s role contributes to raising voters’ awareness by remaining unbiased, ACE added.

During the referendum on the constitution in 2014, and the one in 2012 under Mohamed Morsi’s rule, TV channels constantly broadcasted a logo displaying a “yes” vote to the constitution.

According to the group’s press release issued on Thursday, the campaign will also keep an eye on international organizations monitoring the elections to ensure international standards are followed by the observers.

At least 80 local organizations will take part in monitoring presidential elections based on approval from the Ministry of Solidarity, which had announced earlier this week that more than a hundred organizations will be allowed to perform the task.

On the other hand, organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood have been banned from participating in the monitoring, since they were seized by the government for belonging to an organization declared as “terrorist” by the state.

International organizations will be monitoring the process, including a delegation from the European Union.

Former Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and head of the Popular Current Party Hamdeen Sabbahi are the only two candidates in Egypt’s upcoming presidential race.

Additional reporting by Ahmed Mostafa.

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