Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An exposé on Germany's biggest TV network's journalism fails or: Go to hell, RTL!

I am the proudest sister in the world. Not only does my sister live and work in Egypt, a country that most people on Earth fear these days (for pretty insane reasons!), but she has also now been part of a TV documentary on Germany's biggest network RTL. Paradoxically the report was on two sisters, one being a famous belly dancer, the other one a salafist, living in Cairo. One naturally wonders where RTL found the addition of my sister's accounts beneficial to such a program. RTL might be Germany's biggest network but that doesn't really shine a bright light on the intellectual property of the nation. What I'm trying to say is RTL is dumb TV, trying to sell you a story for entertainment, definitely not information purposes, even if their star reporter Antonia Rados, Germany's pathetic answer to Christane Amanpour, is associated with the broadcast as she was in this case. This is my once in a lifetime opportunity to prove that the information RTL is selling is utter bullcrap because my sister was involved in the development of this "documentary". I saw what they sold my sister as and I know my sister. Guess what happened?

My sister (l.) with Antonia Rados and other converts
All together Antonia Rados met up with my sister twice for a few hours and in the end we saw footage spanning over 3 minutes. That's fine I guess, if only those 3 minutes hadn't been filled with information that was not given in the entire two days of conversation with my sister. I don't even want to know how many times Antonia Rados met up with the belly dancer and salafist sisters because even there she believed to see rivalry. Sorry Antonia, all I saw was two sisters with different lifestyles. Their supposed "fight" on camera was conveniently narrated, not giving us any original quotes by the sisters despite the fact I wouldn't be able to understand anyways. Still pretty curious. The title alone ("My sister, my enemy") is a complete embarassment. These sisters seem fine: One is promiscuous, the other one deeply religious. Doesn't that happen everywhere, all the time? Nobody but Rados seemed to have an actual problem with it. Things could be better for their relationship but animosity, never mind enimity was not really part of it, Antonia! My favorite part however will have to be Antonia Rados' effort to explain the term salafist. It didn't need any introduction, Rados only went for a picture of Osama Bin Laden. Wow! So RTL didn't say it but the introduction evokes the feeling that every salafist is a terrorist. Classy RTL! And so incredibly true... not!

Considering that my sister was almost lucky! Compromising two days into a 3 minute report can't exclude a pretty intense edit and my sister was very mad about the edit she got. I personally think that her personality was captured alright, not edited to make her look like a maniac for converting and living there as I secretly expected from RTL. However, the bad edits can't add content that wasn't said one way or another right?? WRONG! My sister was quoted to have said she had to scream for help after harassments by Egyptian men before. I can only laugh, these people don't know my sister at all. Not only did my sister obviously never say that but I can also personally vouch for this being a ridiculous overstatement. I have spent sufficient time in Egypt to say that harassments aren't worse than in India or Kenya, both countries also leaving me in one piece. If you aren't a total idiot these harassments can't even be considered as such. Jesus RTL! She never said that. What's the point of fueling this fear of Egypt? It isn't that bad!

All together the report didn't go that easy on living in Egypt these days. Pictures of riots were prioritized over the pictures they shot while with my sister which would have depicted a secure life of a German, blond convert living in Ad Dokki, Cairo. You wanna see pictures of Egypt, a wonderful country worth visiting? Look at anyone's pictures who's actually been. My sister's work was stated as being located in a noble district of Cairo which is a straight out lie. I've been there: there might be a gate to the Kindergarten but before that gate you have goats running around and a general area that Western people like to describe as poverty. Nevertheless, my sister has been walking these streets for two years now and has not been harmed yet. Still Rados actually called her "prey" to pretty much every man in Egypt. Way to go, RTL, acting as if my sister's life was sporadically in danger.

My sister was particularly sad about being associated with a report that made Egypt look bad although she is and has been very happy there. Yes, a bit of attention and an occasional verbal harrassment might be part of her life there more so than in Germany but she says that the impressions of people helping her, a sense of community and the general feeling of being secure and protected make up for that big time. Unfortunately that is not what RTL is reporting on because who would want to see that? RTL viewers have their picture of Egypt in their head to the extent that my aunt who is visiting my sister next month is now scared to go. Absolute rubbish. My sister survived 2 years by avoiding Tahrir and mass demonstration which shouldn't be too hard in a 20 million souls metropolitan area. If news would focus on information, and not entertainment, I am pretty sure Egypt would not be having the tourism problem it's having now. RTL, of course, stays true to its reputation of making absolutely horrible TV and proves that even the tag "Antonia Rados" is worthless.

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