NOW Lebanon -the Brotherhood’s Media Blitz
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has been displaying great skill in handling the media over the past year. Since the revolution last January and the party’s electoral success in the recent round of polls in the country, the Brotherhood’s media outlets have tirelessly tried to project an image of moderation. But many secularists and leftists remain suspicious.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), have invested considerable human and financial capital in their marketing campaign over the past twelve months.
“The Brotherhood is very savvy and clever when it comes to the media, and they know their audience very well. They certainly have very good media advisors,” says Khaled Fahmy, professor of History at the American University in Cairo.
In the past year, the Brotherhood has set up a TV channel and a newspaper, and both it and the FJP have been keeping daily-updated websites in English and Arabic.
Their Twitter page, Ikhwanweb, has almost 8,500 followers. The managers of the account regularly engage their followers in lively discussions, and the FJP is the only party in Egypt that has its own smartphone App.
“They show a high degree of sophistication,” says Said Sadek, a political analyst in Cairo. “The money for their media efforts is coming from Saudi Arabia.”
Sadek, along with other liberal and leftist commentators in Egypt, believe that the Brotherhood’s efforts aim at concealing their real intentions. “The Brotherhood and the FJP are trying to appease the growing fears of an Islamist takeover. They want to appear liberal. But what they are saying is just lip service,” he says.