Egyptian State TV Finally Airs Voice of Dissent

Shahira Amin
Shahira Amin, an Egyptian state TV anchorwoman who quit after the station did not cover the protests.

On Monday, Egyptian state TV appeared to play it straight - remarkably.

It reported Monday's protests - and the release of Wael Ghonim, a Google executive jailed as a Mubarak critic.

It's a huge change since just last Tuesday, when protesters and police rumbled to control Egypt's future. And Egyptian state television ignored it and instead, showing this rally by his supporters, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

Complete Coverage: Anger in the Arab World

And when other Al-Jazeera and Western networks showed bedlam, Egyptian state TV's music suggested bliss.

Chaos presented as quiet. An assault on the truth.

So Shahira Amin revolted, too. The state television anchorwoman quit.

"I walked out yesterday. I can't be part of the propaganda machine," Amin said. "I am not going to feed the public lies."

Egyptians have seen the cell phone videos, - an unarmed man gunned down; protestors mowed down. None of it was on state TV.

Ahmad Abdalla is a 32-year-old filmmaker. In the heart of Tharir Square, Abdalla organized this space for new media, volunteers like Ahmed Negla.

"Now I've just made a capture of a video or picture, I just upload it," said Ahmed Negla, a volunteer.

Round the clock - siphoning power from a utility pole - volunteers capture images for bloggers in safe houses - and their global audience.

"Some people have YouTube channels, some people have Facebook pages," Abdalla said. "What's more important to me is that the cycle is going bigger and bigger."

Over the weekend, Egypt's state television changed its approach. For the first time ever, it put the voice of dissent on the air, even interviewing protesters in the crowd, as though to say, "We are listening."

But it's too late. Protesters have found each other on social media.

Wael Ghonim's Facebook page became a viral headquarters for the movement.

Mondays's release of Google's top executive here is an answered prayer to Iman Imam, his mother.

"I want to put a sign on my chest that reads, 'I am the mother of a hero,'" she said.

He's a hero to many protesters, too.

Also on Monday, Al-Ahram, a famous state-owned paper, abandoned Mubarak. An editorial saluted the revolution and demanded sweeping constitutional change.

  • strassmannbio2011.jpg
    Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.