Egypt: A call to protest anti-gay reporting, homophobia

Egyptian journalist Mona Iraqi (at right, with camera phone) records the police raid on the Bab el-Bahr public bathhouse, with men being herded into a police van, on Dec. 7, 2014. (Screenshot from Mona Iraqi's  Facebook page, courtesy of Scott Long)
Egyptian journalist Mona Iraqi (at right, with camera phone) records the police raid on the Bab el-Bahr public bathhouse, with men being herded into a police van, on Dec. 7, 2014. (Screenshot from Mona Iraqi’s Facebook page, courtesy of Scott Long)

An online protest will start tomorrow against unjust treatment of LGBTI people in Egypt and anti-gay journalists’ role in fostering government repression there.

The protest is timed to coincide with the start of Egyptian legal proceedings against men arrested in connection with sensational coverage about a Cairo bathhouse by Mona Iraqi, a television reporter who accompanied police on that raid.

Activist/commentator Scott Long writes in his blog, A Paper Bird:

Egypt: Tweeting and blogging against informer journalists and homophobia

Tomorrow, December 21, is the first hearing in the trial of men arrested in Mona Iraqi’s December 7 bathhouse raid in Cairo. I will post updates [in the Paper Bird blog.] Meanwhile: Protest this horrendous human rights abuse. Some very brave Egyptian activists are calling for a campaign on Twitter and social media — starting tomorrow, but continuing after. You can tweet using the hashtag #مخبر_اعلامي : in English, #StopInformerJournalists. You can also copy in @Mona_Iraqi and @MonaIraqiTV. The event page is here [on Facebook in Arabic], and the call to action is below, in Arabic and then English:

يوم للتغريد و التدوين ضد اللإعلاميين المخبرين و الإعتقالات بناءاً على الهوية الجنسية

في هذا اليوم سيتم التدوين و التغريد من خلال كافة آدوات التواصل الإجتماعي كنوع من التظاهر ضد تعاون مني العراقي اللا أخلاقي مع جهاز الشرطة القمعي، و الذي أدى إلى أكبر حملة ضبطية في التاريخ المصري لأشخاص بناءاً على تصورات عن ميولهم الجنسية منذ حادثة كوين بوت في مطلع الألفينات. لم تكتفي منى بإرشاد الشرطة إلى إعتقال ستة و عشرون — مع الوضع في الإعتبار أن تم إبقائهم عراة بينما قامت هي بتصويرهم بهاتفها النقال كصائدي الجوائز — بل أيضاً كنوع من التغطية روجت لفكرة أن الإعتقال سببه مرض نقس المناعة البشرية و الدعارة! نحن نتظاهر ضد الفجور الحقيقي الذي تمارسه منى عراقي و أمثالها. نحن نتظاهر ضد الإعلاميين الذين اصبحوا مخبرين لصالح الشرطة عوضاً عن كونهم ناقلين محايدين للحقائق. نحن نتظاهر ضد عنف الدولة و إنعدام العدالة ضد كل من يشتبه في كونه مثلي أو متحول جنسياً.

كيف يمكن أن أشارك؟

في هذا اليوم — غداً الأحد — دون\ي، إكتب\ي، غرد\ي على أي من مواقع التواصل الإجتماعي معبراً عن رأيك في هذه الأحداث المشينة مرفقة بالهاشتاج الآتي: #‏الاعلامي_المخبر

Tweeting and blogging against informer journalists and homophobia:

Contributions will be made through all social media to protest Mona Iraqi’s unethical cooperation with oppressive police forces, which led to the largest crackdown on people based on their assumed sexual orientations in recent Egyptian history. Not only did she lead the police in arresting 26 people — men kept naked while she filmed them using her camera phone like a bounty hunter – she covered her tracks with a media campaign spreading the idea that this is about HIV and prostitution. We protest the real perversion practiced by Mona Iraqi and her like. We protest the journalists who become informers rather than neutral transmitters of fact. We protest the state brutality and extreme injustice against people suspected of being gay or transgender in Egypt.

How can I contribute?

On that day, here’s what we will do. Go to any of your social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or your own blog. Write a post or share a picture that expresses your opinions on the matter. Attach it with this hashtag: #المخبرـالإعلامي

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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