For the past few weeks I have been captivated by the images of retaliation and revolution in Egypt. Interestingly, however, I found myself not only interested in the stories being reported but with the reporters themselves. Two female reporters in particular made a strong impact on me, Shahira Amin and Christiane Amanpour. While they made themselves known to the public over the past few weeks for different reasons, they are both wonderful examples for Egyptian women in particular but also for women around the world. For such prominent women to make publicly bold statements for everyone to see is a display of female power in Egypt that I hope the revolution continues to encourage.
Just days after the commencement of the uprisings in Egypt Shahira Amin resigned from her position as a senior anchor and deputy head of Nile TV, one of Egypt’s state run TV stations. As the protests picked up momentum Mubarak’s regime released strict guidelines to news channels and newspapers outlining what they could and could not say about the protests and the government. Reporters were mandated “not to cross the red line” by downplaying the revolution and making up lies about the protestors’ purpose (CNN). Given these restrictions, Amin felt that she could no longer do the job she had done for so many years and refused to promote the propaganda of the Mubarak regime. Amin’s resignation and very public refusal to obey Mubarak’s orders fostered strength in protesters and led the way for many other reporters.
Coincidentally, the same day that Shahira Amin resigned from Nile TV several other reporters were beaten by Pro-Mubarak thugs including Christiane Amanpour (Examiner). From the very beginning Christiane Amanpour was on the ground reporting from the middle of it all in Egypt. Not only was she covering the action at the riots but she captured the few coveted interviews that Egyptian leaders were willing to give. There was very little comment from Egyptian leaders but when they decided to speak, they wanted Amanpour. Amanpour held the first publicly broadcasted, exclusive interviews with President Mubarak and Vice President Omar Suleiman. The fact that a female reporter was chosen for this job speaks volumes not only to the respect people have for Amanpour’s journalistic work but also to the confidence the public has in a woman. Now we must wait to see who becomes Egypt’s new leader. If the past few weeks are indicative of the future, we could see a woman filling that void. OK maybe that’s a reach, I mean the US hasn’t even been able to do that! Regardless, I think we are just beginning to hear the voices of many influential women.