Egypt Independent

Sunday’s papers: Nasser assassination claims surface while debate continues over election participation



Egypt's print media concentrates much of its Sunday, 19 September attention on a request filed to the general prosecutor on Saturday by the family of former president Anwar al-Sadat. Members of the Sadat family have requested legal action be taken against the esteemed historian and journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, who publicly claimed Sadat may have poisoned his predecessor, Gamal Abdel Nasser.
 
The largest front-page headline in the independent Al-Shorouk newspaper reads “Petition filed to general prosecutor by Sadat's daughter against Heikal,” while a central front-page headline in the state-owned Al-Ahram reads “In the Abdel Nasser coffee-cup incident: Ruqaiya al-Sadat accuses…Heikal denies.”
 
Ruqaiya al-Sadat's petition to general prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud includes charges of slander and libel against the journalist. The top front-page headlines of the independent Al-Dostour newspaper reference Sadat's sister: “Sukaiyna al-Sadat responds to Heikal” and “Sister of the late president: Impossible for al-Sadat to personally make a cup of coffee.” Al-Dostour's coverage quotes Sukaiyna as saying “the Sadat family will sue Heikal before the courts, and will demand the greatest possible compensation for his remarks.”
 
Al-Shorouk's coverage of this news includes direct quotes from Heikal on his TV show “Tajrubat Haya” (A Life Experience) which was broadcast on Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel on Thursday, 16 September. Heikal is quoted as discrediting assassination claims directed at al-Sadat. Heikal repeated that he was highly skeptical about the claim that Sadat murdered Nasser by personally preparing a cup of poisoned coffee for the then-president.
 
Other front-page headlines include coverage of the decision taken by the liberal opposition Wafd Party to partake in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Al-Ahram, quoting Wafd Party President Sayyed al-Badawi, runs a front-page headline announcing “The party would have paid a heavy toll had it boycotted the elections.”
In the independent liberal newspaper Nahdet Masr, chief front-page headlines read “45% of Wafdists vote against participation in elections,” and “Dissenters within Al-Wafd… A headache for al-Badawi.”

Al-Wafd newspaper quotes Badawi in its top front-page headline announcing the party will “Participate fiercely in the elections… False rumors about deal with National Democratic Party.” Al-Wafd mentions that 43.3% of the party's general assembly voted against participation in upcoming elections, while 56.7% voted for participation.

Al-Wafd quotes Badawi as saying that he received 250 requests from party members to nominate themselves in the parliamentary elections. The party newspaper dedicates much of its front-page to the decision to join in the election process. One headline on the front page quotes the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mufid Shehab, "Al-Wafd's decision to enter elections a wise decision, will lead to formation of a strong parliament.” Another headline reads “Brotherhood welcomes Al-Wafd's decision to partake in elections.”

On Al-Shorouk's front-page, a headline reads “Beyond Al-Wafd… Brotherhood to participate…Tagammu Party undecided…Democratic Front to boycott.” The article quotes a spokesman from the Muslim Brotherhood who says it is unlikely Egyptians will boycott the elections. The article also discusses the left-leaning Tagammu Party's refrain from announcing its participation decision and the liberal Democratic Front Party announcement that it will boycott.

Sunday marks the return to schools and universities by millions of students across the country. Al-Shorouk headlines on the bottom of its front-page: “Chaos during first day of the academic year.” The sub header reads “Governorates transport school books in garbage trucks, other schools without books.” According to Al-Wafd's central front-page headline: “An entirely problematic academic year” and “Primary and secondary school students without books, and teachers teach nothing about curriculum.” A photo of rubble and wires outside a school with the caption “schools surrounded by waste from residential buildings and exposed electric wires,” accompanies the article.

At the bottom of Al-Ahram's front-page the following headline quotes Minister of Education Ahmad Zaki Badr: "It is not permissible to force students into attending classes in school.” A sub header quotes Minister of Higher Education, Hani Helal: "Helal: The new academic year will witness development in curriculums and the establishment of new specializations within universities.”

 
Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose el-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party