Cairo, 18 June 2005
"Complaints Book - DIWAN EL MAZALEM".
Analysis of the contents of the newspapers columns on complaints received by citezens.
Al Akhbar - Al Ahram - Al Wafd - El Ahali - Al Osbo'o - Sawt El Omah - Al Arabi
During the period from 1st January till 30th April 2005
The Developmental Media program of the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD) issued today a report named "Complaints Book - DIWAN EL MAZALEM". This report is issued every four months in order to monitor and analyze the contents of the Egyptian newspapers columns on complaints received by citizens. This report aims at highlighting the citezens' needs and problems in the Egyptian society by analyzing the complaints published in the newspapers,
This report consists of (54) pages and is divided into three parts. The first part includes general remarks such as :
Number of citezens, who sent their complaints and their opinions to newspapers in order to have them published, was 3000 citezens during 4 months,
Number of complaints sent by citizens to the columns on complaints in the newspapers during the period 1st January - 30th April 2005 reached 2384 complaints. (These newspapers covered by this report are Al Akhbar - Al Ahram - Al Wafd - El Ahali - Al Osbo'o - Sawt El Omah - Al Arabi).
Number of citezens' viewpoints on some of the current issues and incidents sent to the above-mentioned newspapers was 1145. The mail of Al Ahram newspaper published 874 viewpoints while the column named " To the editor" in Al Akhbar newspaper published 154. In addition, the column named "30 Yaqoub street" in Al Arabi newspaper published 65 viewpoints while the column named" Readers" in Sawt El Omah newspaper published 68. The column named " El Masri El Faseeh" in Al Ahali newspaper published 8 viewpoints and the column named "Maraseel" in El Esbo'o newspaper published 3. On the other hand, the column named " the troubles of people" in El Wafd newspaper did not publish any opinions .
Regarding complaints, El Akhbar newspaper came at the top as its column named "To the editor" published 856 complaints while the column named " The troubles of people" in El Wafd newspaper published 697 complaints. Then came the mail of Al Ahram which published 565 complaints
According to FDHRD's analysis of complaints published in the newspapers, the complaints on the right to health came at the top, as they were 206 complaints and then came complaints on the implementation on rulings, traffic and the work of police bodies, as they were 185 complaints. Number of complaints on insurances, pensions and social guarantees was 139 while complaints on the right to education reached 134 and then the number of complaints on rights relates to land reached 69.
Finally, it is observed that the normal citizens seem to be not interested in the political participation issues as this report did not monitor any complaints on this right. Therefore, it is clear the civil society activists have their own mechanisms to convey complaints related to the violations of rights while simple citezens use newspapers as a safe and quick way to solve their problems.
This report concluded from these complaints that local bodies are weak and there is lack of communication channels between local citezens and the executive Peoples' Councils. Thus, when citizens want to convey their complaints, they address the competent Minster or governorator directly when their complaints can be simply solved in the case of the intervene of the local Peoples' Councils members or the public servants.
In addition, it was obvious that the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs or its other bodies did not reply to any of the complaints which were published in the newspapers mentioned above.
Besides, FDHRD noted that both Sawt El Omah and Al Ahali newspapers have allocated a permanent page for complaints in thier second page while El Akhbar and El Wafd newspapers kept on changing the page.
" Regarding the size of columns, they ranged from 20% to 97% of the total page as follows:
The size of this column in El Wafd newspaper which is named " The troubles of people" was 50% of the total size of the page.
The column "To the editor" which is the complaints page in Al Akhbar newspaper was 45% of the total size of the page. In this regard, it was noted that Al Asbo'o newspaper has a column named " The readers' Camera" which is an independent column made to draw the attention of readers and the responsible persons to a specific case supported by photos.
Furthermore, the size of the complaints column in Al Ahali newspaper which is named " El Masri El Faseeh" was 97% of the total size of the page.
The column "Maraseel" which is the complaints page in Al Osbo'o newspaper was 90% of the total size of the page.
Besides, the size of the complaints column in Al Omah newspaper which is named " Readers" was 95% of the total size of the page.
The column "30 Yaqoub street" which is the complaints page in Al Arabi newspaper was 85% of the total size of the page.
" This report observed that the number of complaints related to the right to equality and the elimination of discrimination against women was very few in comparison with the number of other complaints. This phenomenon has taken place because of the spread of NGOs that work in the field of women headed by the " National Council for Women Rights" which received 1164 complaints during 2002 and 2003.
The second part of the report covered the analysis of the complaints contents while the third part includes the conclusion and recommendations which aimed at eliminating all obstacles which hider the process of development in Egypt.
Finally, there is an addendum which includes tables. These tables record the number of replies and names of bodies and ministries which replied to the complaints and those who did not reply at all.