The Muslim Brotherhood takes to the airwaves

The Islamic political movement has its own, slick channel
Egyptian members of Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party celebrate as they arrive to the parliament in Cairo on January 23, 2012. Egypt’s lower house of parliament held its first session since a popular uprising ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak, with Islamists dominating the assembly for the first time. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Brotherhood goes live
Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is wasting no time asserting its voice in the post-Mubarak era. The Islamic political movement, banned in the 1950s, swept the first parliamentary elections held since president Hosni Mubarak was ousted, securing 47 per cent of the lower house through its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). The Brotherhood is also showing off its media mettle, with a 24-hour news channel, Misr25. The name, which means “Egypt25,” evokes Jan. 25: the first day of the revolution that eventually led to Mubarak’s resignation last February.

The TV channel is slick. A female anchor in a fashionable head scarf weaves stories from a stable of 100 correspondents (not necessarily Brotherhood members). Mubarak kept a tight grip on the media; only in his last few years did the regime allow private channels. The Muslim Brotherhood, however, openly admits Misr25 is a tool for advancing its agenda. Which begs the question: are Egyptians getting a new channel, or simply a new state media boss?