CAIRO: The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) released on Thursday a report evaluating media coverage of the presidential campaigns, which showed former army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi dominating Egyptian coverage.
The report aimed to examine to what extent Egyptian media was committed to the principles of balance and fairness in its coverage of presidential candidates Sisi and Hamdeen Sabbahi.
From April 20 to May 20, the group monitored 15 public and private television channels, radio and newspapers. The television monitored included MBC, ONtv, CBC, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Sada Elbalad and Al Kahera Wal Nas.
The radio channels included were Radio Masr and Radio 90 90, and newspapers included Al-Shorouq, Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Watan, Al-Gomhuria and Al-Ahram.
The report said Sisi took the lion’s share of media attention, garnering much greater coverage than rival Sabbahi, which the group said reflects clear media bias.
However, the report also said it is difficult to generalize results found on private and state media channels given the wide variety of programs on each media outlet, which differ in perspective and coverage from one presenter to another.
Media expert Yasser Abdel Aziz told The Cairo Post that public media outlets showed a significant improvement in providing balanced coverage for both candidates, as did newspapers like Al-Ahram.
Regarding private channels, Abdel Aziz said a large number appeared biased, which is only wrong when they are not forthcoming about such bias.
He added that media experts and researchers are closely following media outlets, and further examination will have a positive impact currently and in the future.
The presidential elections will be held May 26 and 27. Sisi is widely expected to win the race. In Egyptian expatriate voting on May 15 to 19, a majority of the votes went to Sisi, 94.5 percent, while Sabbahi received only 5.4 percent.