Over the past few days, journalists working for Egyptian state media have orchestrated a remarkable uprising of their own: They have begun reporting news that casts the embattled government in a negative light.
Whether the change is a sign of a weakened regime that is losing control or the result of a decision by the government to loosen its grip on information remains unclear. But the shift has been hard to miss. State-run television and newspapers such as the iconic al-Ahram initially dismissed the mass demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak as nonevents. As the crisis has unfolded since Jan. 25, most people have relied on Arabic satellite channels such as al-Jazeera and news accounts from independent Egyptian dailies and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to keep up with events.
As protests against Mubarak's nearly 30 years of authoritarian rule intensified, state television reported on the first lady's gardens and call-in shows featured hysterical women and men entreating people to stop demonstrating. Protesters began carrying banners in Cairo's central Tahrir Square denouncing state-run media and calling the news organizations "liars."