PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, April 13, 2012

Former Egypt TV Anchor Says Military Regime ‘Still Very Repressive’

Shahira Amin, a former anchor for Egypt's state TV. She famously walked off the job in support of the Arab Spring uprisings. (Robin Lubbock/Here & Now)

During the Tahrir Square uprising that brought down Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarek, an anchor for Egypt’s state-owned Nile TV famously walked off the set in protest.

Her name is Shahira Amin, and she left her job to support the protesters because she didn’t want to be involved in state television’s propaganda.

She came to our studios during a recent trip to Boston and told Here & Now‘s Sacha Pfeiffer that her tipping point was the “battle of the camels” in Tahrir Square in February of 2011.

“Men on horseback and camelback stormed into Tahrir Square and attacked the peaceful activists with whips and batons like a scene from Medieval times. And I watched it with horror on Al Arabiya, one of the satellite channels,” Amin said.

She said she wanted to tell the world what was happening, but her editor warned her not to.

“‘[The editor] said, ‘We are given clear instructions not to mention it, don’t you dare,'” Amin recalled. “And that’s when I decided I am not doing this.”

Amin stayed in Tahrir Square from that day until Hosni Mubarak was forced out. During that time, she joined the protesters and reported for international news organizations.

“It was an amazing time because I was there as an Egyptian national wanting change, but also as a journalist, being able to report,” she said.

‘State TV Hasn’t Changed Much’

Amin has since returned to work at Egypt’s state TV, but she says she’s still under restrictions, particularly if she mentions the military.

“State TV hasn’t changed much — it’s still under the control of the military regime,” she said. “They have replaced Mubarak with the military authority as the new red line that they cannot cross.”

She says there is a new minister of information who is a military general and that journalists are punished for their writing.

“Bloggers have been put behind bars simply for putting their opinions on Facebook,” she said. “The atmosphere is still very repressive.”

Amin says the good news is that there has been a revolution in independent media organizations, which are pushing for more freedom. But she says she is sticking with state TV because she wants to push for reforms from the inside.

Amin was in Boston to speak at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at a conference called “Women Making Democracy.”

Guest:

  • Shahira Amin, Egyptian journalist

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 28 15 Comments

Men Read Mean Tweets At Women And The Video Goes Viral

Two Chicago-area sports journalists gathered the tweets directed at them and asked men to read them to their faces. The result went viral.

April 28 7 Comments

HBO's CEO On Virtual Reality And ‘Sesame Street’

In the second part of our interview with Richard Plepler, he discusses why the premium cable network picked up "Sesame Street."

April 28 Comment

Gloria Estefan Reflects On Her Life Story In ‘On Your Feet!’

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson catches up with the Cuban-born American singer backstage after a performance.

April 27 26 Comments

Economist: NAFTA Benefits Economy Despite Job Losses

Gordon Hanson explains his research on the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement and why he still supports it.