Daily Israel Report

Copt Lawyer Calls for Resignation of Information Minister Heykal

Those seeking justice for the killing and wounding of the Coptic demonstrators want Egyptian state television held to account.
By Aryeh ben Hayim
First Publish: 10/11/2011, 7:55 PM

The Egyptian Al-Ahram website has just reported that Coptic lawyer Naguib Gobrail filed a case against the Egyptian Minister of Information Osama Heykal accusing him of fueling sectarian violence in coverage of the peaceful Coptic protest on Sunday that was brutally attacked by the military police and Muslims.

The result was at least 25 dead and hundreds injured after the armed forces guarding the building opened fire and ran over protesters with armored vehicles.

Gobrail holds the minister “personally responsible for the false reports that the state TV aired, which agitated people to leave their homes and attack Copts” on the streets in downtown Cairo on Sunday.

“What the state TV aired incites sectarian violence and incites people against Coptic Christians and puts social peace in danger,” read the statement.

Egyptian state television has been criticized by rights activists for aggravating a tense situation instead of working for calm.  

Broadcasters on state television actually called on the Egyptian public to head to the demonstration site to defend Egyptian soldiers from "angry Christian protesters".

The calls were heeded and Christians escaping police bullets and tear gas, were attacked by a mob armed with machetes, swords and cudgels.

Everything was done to sustain the false report from call-in viewers who reported that "Armed Christians clashed with and killed military police" to footage showing injured military police officers that omitted corpses of the demonstrators.

For Middle East expert's op-ed on the subject, click here.

Egypt’s state television announced on Monday that there were no deaths among the military forces after previously reporting that the soldiers were being killed by the demonstrators.

Minister of Information Heykal explained that the false reports resulted from the “emotional stress” that the news anchors were under.

The foreign media was also taken to task for treating Egyptian television as a credible source.