Day 07 - The Media - Cairo/Zamalek - January 30, 2012

Ekram Ibrahim is a journalist at Ahram Online, covering social and political news. She started working for this multimedia company in October 2010, and three months later it was launched online to cover the last parliamentary elections under Moubarak's governance.  This December 2010 ballot was denounced as the most fraudulent ever, and contributed to the popular dissatisfaction which in turn led to the revolution of January 25, 2011. In an informal interview with the Global Journal, Ekram Ibrahim talked interestingly about the current situation in Egypt and the constraints she has to face in her everyday working life as a female journalist.   

What major difference in your working conditions can you highlight one year after Moubarak's fall ?

Before, I wasn't able to criticize the state or whoever was ruling the country, but now, for example, I can openly criticize the SCAF (Supreme Council of Armed Forces). But then Ahram Online is an unusual experience - several other newspapers are still redlined by SCAF.

What's your political inspiration ?

I don't have a clear position... but perhaps I am a mix between liberal and socialist.

What's your personal analysis of the current situation ?

I was really exhausted by the parliamentary election results, and until those last 5 days was quite pessimistic. I thought that many people didn't see through the lies that the SCAF use to rule and manipulate them. Then we saw the Youth Movement of January 25 reach Tahrir, together with hundreds of thousands of people blaming the SCAF - it made me realize..."Oh ! many people are aware!" so it brought back hope and optimism.        

What's more, I think it's good having the Muslim Brotherhood within the parliament and seeing them not supporting either the people or the wounded or the martyr families...I think it's going to show them up in a bad light and make people realize their true position.  With regard to economics, I think that the state is intentionally putting the spotlight on whatever's going wrong in the economy in order to turn people against the revolution. Overall, I believe the situation is getting better, but it takes time.

How do you feel as a female journalist in your everyday working life ?

I have to face many limitations. For instance, sexual harassment is increasing. In general, walking in the streets of Cairo as a female journalist is really hard, and you feel like you always need a friend or someone to walk beside you, but you just have to walk, and you do. It's a fight at home (I was locked home during the first 10 days of the revolution) and in the streets at the same time, and as a woman you don't have access to the same opportunities as men to cover the news.

How do you see the future of Egypt in 5 years time ?

I expect Egypt to become a more civilian state and to not have the Muslim Brothers re-elected. Only then will we start to see the real face of the revolution.

What message would you like to give to the West ?

Human beings are the same all around the world. We have common interests and issues that limit us. In Egypt we seem less tolerant - and I agree that we have more fanatics in our country - but that goes back to poverty, lack of knowledge and education. While you want us to learn to be more tolerant, you have to tolerate us as well.

Photo & Report by Gaël Favari for The Global Journal

(Photo © Gaël Favari / The Global Journal)


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