Straddling the Line: Spokesperson vs. Journalist

Nihal Saad

Nihal Saad is accustomed to straddling the line between different points of view. During her career she has worked as a journalist, a representative for the Egyptian government of former President Hosni Mubarak and, most recently, as Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly(GA).

“When the Arab Spring happened I was still working as the Press Counselor and Spokesperson for the Egyptian Mission to the United Nations, so I represented my government at the time,” Ms. Saad told us in an interview last week. “And the thing is that you try as much as possible to see the situation objectively rather than subjectively, not to take sides, and in order to do that it was very much an advantage being here in the United States… not in Egypt,” she continued.

Egyptian Uprising

As for her feelings about speaking for the Egyptian government during the uprising, she said, “Obviously you are not on the ground with all these youth, who we are all so very proud of. But at the end of the day you have to be objective and you have to balance your words very carefully.”

Ms. Saad went on to talk about the influence of social media on Mideast governments.  “After the Arab Spring there are no borders,” she said. “All the Arab regimes are aware now that social media, social networking, satellite channels…The world is a very small village where we are all connected.  Regardless of what they do regarding freedom of expression, everybody is connected to the other and one way or the other you get this flow of information.”

*How do you think social media has influenced events in Palestine? Has it altered the role of government spokespeople?

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