Monday, February 25, 2019

Khaled Youssef’s affair : Women always pay the price in media

Women always pay the price in any sex-related scandal in the world.
It is a fact.

Whether you are in a country classified as a first-world-country or a third-world-country.
There is no difference between the mainstream or social media when it comes to that focus on the women, the one party involved that sex scandal while the other party, the man is completely ignored.

This fact I remember when Khaled Youssef’s sex tapes scandal was unfolded in the past three weeks.
In a quick recap, some sex videos involving Egyptian prominent director and MP Khaled Youssef and a number of women including young actresses hit the internet.

Some concerned citizen, a lawyer filed a complaint at the general prosecution and soon enough Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek began to investigate in the incident.
So far four ladies who reportedly appear in the video clips were arrested including aspiring actors Mona Farouk and Shima El-Hajj.

They are officially accused of prostitution and inciting debauchery and obscenity online.
Their lawyers deny those charges saying that they were legally married to the famous director and member of parliament secretly during the filming of those videos from which was from couple of years ago.

I tried to search and to know if Khaled Youssef is facing any charges but I failed.
Either way, the prosecution should present a request to the House of Representatives to lift Youssef’s parliamentary immunity to investigate him officially.
It is unclear if that has happened or not.

From his side, the MP representing Kafr El-Sheikh’s famous Kafr Shukr constituency in the parliament says that he is paying for his political positions including his complete rejection to the current constitutional amendments.

He says that as someone who had been a member in the committee that drafted the 2014 constitution that the Egyptian people wanted solely a civilian state, not a religious state or an authoritarian state.
"Side remark: I believe as a left-leaning Nasserite he finds it hard to say “Military state” explicitly."

Two facts are clear though: Youssef is in France while the four women who allegedly appeared with him are arrested and detained 15 days pending investigations.
There is no information about who leaked those videos and uploaded them online in a direct violation of the laws specifically the anti-cybercrime and information technology crime law and its articles related to online privacy.

The prosecutor general issued a ban on websites broadcasting those videos involved Khaled Youssef.
He also issued a media gag order on coverage of the investigation into the case putting a late “unfortunately” end on what can be easily described immoral cheap media coverage that had been going for two weeks or something.

Professionally speaking, many newspapers and news websites as well journalists lost a lot of respect on how they covered this issue and spread lies.
I can’t describe the amount of false news defaming and destroying Mona Farouk and Shimaa El-Hajj online and offline.

Fabricated statements allegedly from the investigations spread like fire especially in Al-Watan Newspaper and Youm 7 unsurprisingly.

It did not stop there but it reached to their families and we began to hear the reactions of their parents and siblings with no regards to their privacy, especially we live in the end in Eastern society. Why should I read a news report about what Shima or Mona's neighbor saw or knew?

Claims that Youssef blackmailed the two actresses to have sex with him in return of appearing in movies were published in those publications.

In another time, this could be a serious #Metoo moment in Egypt’s film industry but politics and how the mainstream media act towards the whole issue made us lose this opportunity to investigate whether influential film producers and directors abuse their position and power.

Not only lies were spread but also there were legal violations for citizens’ rights when it comes to investigations and what should be published and what should not be published during the investigations.

It reached to the level that one of the girls appeared on video crying asking the public to forgive her.

Now the videos of Mona Farouk and Shimaa El-Hajj reached Porn Hub.
A petition was launched in Egypt to urge Porn Hub to remove those videos on Change.Org.
This petition may help in removing the videos from Porn Hub despite they have already spread to other sites as expected and intended when those videos hit the internet.
I respect that the petition went viral in Egypt.
I respect also how many people asked the public online to respect the privacy of those young ladies and their families in those hard times.

Things have calmed down recently and the only news we find now is a short announcement about the arrest of another lady who appeared allegedly in the video.
Needless to say, the media gag order had the last word in all this sadly.

Khaled Youssef is in France now and he is giving interviews here and there. He criticized how the media did not only destroyed the lives of two ladies whom he was married to but also defamed Egyptian actresses and showbiz in general.

There were a couple of comics about him but that’s it. He will survive as a man this unlike the women involved in that affair.

Maybe it is the perfect time to discuss how the media whether mainstream or social should cover such issues in accordance with the law and to the constitution.
Of course, this won’t happen now but there should be clear rules.

Those rules are a basic code of ethics in the media but basics need to be defined in Egypt.

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