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Sinai residents feel betrayed by Egyptian media

The Egyptian media has been accused of trivializing the situation in Sinai, which either castigates or ignores residents while they are being beheaded by Islamic extremists for cooperating with the army in its anti-terrorism campaign against them.
Egyptian security personnel check cars at a checkpoint near the site, where separate attacks on security forces in North Sinai on Thursday killed 30 people, in Arish, North Sinai, Egypt, January 31, 2015.  President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday that Egypt faces a long, hard battle against militancy, days after one of the bloodiest attacks on security forces in years. On Thursday night, four separate attacks on security forces in North Sinai were among the worst in the country in years. Islamic Stat

EL-ARISH, Egypt — “You're supporting terrorism,” the man said before he realized the cruelty of his accusation. “There are traitors in Sinai,” added the retired major general affiliated with the Egyptian liberal parties. This is how he began his conversation with me when we happened to find ourselves sitting at the same table with a group of his friends during an event in Cairo. The major general’s statements, published on condition of anonymity, illustrate how badly the Egyptian people are being informed about events in the Sinai Peninsula, be they politicians, security elites or ordinary people. What, however, is the source of such misconceptions about Sinai residents?

A Sinai sheikh requesting anonymity answered the question, stating, “The deliberate media blackout based on security directives is one of the reasons that has led to the growing suspicion and mistrust among the Egyptian people about Sinai. Egypt’s newspapers and satellite TV only report news about the death of military members shot by extremist religious groups in the Nile Valley provinces. These outlets fail, however, to convey the suffering of the Sinai people, who are plagued by repressive security practices and the dominance of armed religious extremism.”

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