Media, an absolute core of equitable development

What is media? Why is it important? Can we live without it? What is its role in development?

In its simplest form, media is defined as the main means of mass communication (television, radio, and newspapers) regarded collectively; but I would say it is a functional organism that carries out specific roles in a society; the easiest and fastest way to get something done and without it, a nation can never survive!

No one can deny that media shapes our lives nowadays, since it spreads and disseminates information to a wider audience in no time. Egypt is undergoing a process of cautious transition in the media sector especially after the 25th of January revolution. The media, with specific reference to newspapers, radio, television, Internet (social media) and mobile platforms, play a crucial role in national development, which particularly aims at improving the political, economic and social lives of the people. These different forms of media have gained more popularity in the Egyptian market, but when referring to Upper Egypt, the case is not the same.

To elaborate more, the media depends on the societies in which they operate, and the audience they reach in order to have an impact and a role in development. However, none of these factors are the same everywhere, at all times, or under all conditions since every medium has a message and a target audience; aiming at influencing a change, attitudes, perceptions and decision-making.

The vanguard for political, economic and social development in Upper Egypt

We had the chance to interview Mr. Hafez El Marazi (Kamal Adham Center for Television and Digital Journalism (AUC) and TV Presenter) during ENID’s 1st Annual Conference; he explained the role of the media in the development process of Upper Egypt. Most of the Egyptian media is targeting the educated segment; while the segment in Upper Egypt is somehow being neglected. However, this is the most segment that should be targeted because it represents a wide segment of the population; that the government can make good use of.

Al Marazi stresses on the importance of strengthening the local and regional media across Egypt to report on local issues. He also suggests a separate TV channel and a radio station not for each governorate but for each village. In this way, each channel would cater each village’s needs and wants and so can target them more effectively, especially that each governorate has a different accent, e.g. Nubians. Further, each channel can inform the target audience about campaigns, projects and activities that are being undertaken in their own village/governorate , of which most of them might not be aware.

Media is our way out!

To make the story short, Upper Egypt is usually the economically disadvantaged segment in the Egyptian society, thus the media should enhance the ability of the disenfranchised groups to make their voices heard. They have the duty to expose the living conditions of such groups, so that the government would feel some pressure to act. The media can also help in sensitizing government programs on poverty alleviation and economic empowerment, so that public services are made more responsive to Upper Egypt. Even decision makers can be more likely to ask for Upper Egypt’s residents’ inputs and opinions on matters relevant to them. All in all, the Egyptian Media sector should improve its professionalism and its sustainability to reach everyone in this country, and as Al Mirazi ends his interview by stressing on “media is the solution and our way out”.


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