Private channels “biased” in favor of certain presidential candidate: report
A man casts his vote into voting box - YOUM7/Hossam Atef

CAIRO: The state owned media committed to “professionalism” while the private media appeared “biased for a certain candidate,” according to the report released Sunday by the Committee for Monitoring and Evaluating Media Performance for the presidential elections.

The committee said in its report that its evaluation was based on certain elements such as neutrality, professionalism, good coverage for conferences of the both candidates Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabbahi. It also included reports covering the period starting with the beginning of the electoral campaigns of both presidential candidates on May 3 until the last day of voting on May 28.

The report referred to the bias of some private channels such as Al-Kahera Wal Nas, Sada Elbalad, Al-Faraeen, El-Mehwar, El-Tahrir, CBC, ON TV, and Al-Nahar to a certain candidate.

The report showed that TV programs on private channels hosted heavily biased guests for a certain candidate against the other. It reported that such programs lost the required professionalism and chose to cover one candidate exclusively over the other.

The report also announced that channels were in violation by showing the results of the Egyptian expatriates voting on May 15-19, which could have affected the public opinion about the electoral process and influenced which candidate to cast their votes for.

About the opinion polls announced by some TV programs, the report said “such polls were not based on correct scientific bases.”

Some presenters were deliberately showing their personal opinions and impressions about the candidates in terms of supporting or rejecting either, as well as discussing the candidate’s personal lives.

Some programs violated the campaign silence phase on May 24 and 25 before the elections, including Masr Tantaser TV program (Egypt Wins) on Sada El-Balad, whose presenter had mocked the campaign silence and its guests reflected indirect promotion referring their candidate of choice.

The report said it monitored how private channels pressured the High Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) regarding extend voting to a third day due to the issue of non-local voters who were not able at first to cast their votes.

The commission was criticized sharply by some presenters and the committee, considering the scenario as interference into HPEC’s work.

The report said El-Mehwar, Sada El-Balad, CBC, and Al-Faraeen used inappropriate language and rebuked citizens’ choices. A CBC program host threatened people that they would be jailed if they choose not to participate in the voting process.

The general trend of most private channels leaned towards the sake of one certain candidate, media expert Yasser Abdel Aziz told The Cairo Post, referring to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Abdel Aziz pointed out that the main reason for the private media bias is that “private channels reflect a popular mode, which exists in the public and can be monitored.” He added that some program hosts expressed their personal decisions and opinions, which is very biased.

Abdel Aziz said that some channels owners are biased for personal interests, which could bring them closer to the new authority in the future, so they used their media tools to boost the opportunity for a certain candidate.

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