Wednesday’s papers: The blame game

The local press Wednesday attempts to determine culpability for the devastating train wreck that killed 19 police conscripts and injured more than 100 late Monday.

In a transparent attempt to head off accusations against President Mohamed Morsy's government, Freedom and Justice newspaper tries to shift blame toward the previous regime.  

“A 30-year-old crime of neglect,” the front-page headline reads in blood-red letters. The Muslim Brotherhood's mouthpiece suggests that the accident resulted from a flawed and neglected railway system that Morsy merely inherited from former President Hosni Mubarak. Responding to those who say it is now Morsy's responsibility to fix the system, the paper claims the required updates would cost US$50 billion.

Making sure to cover all angles, the paper also implies saboteurs may have been at work, reporting that the general prosecution hasn’t ruled out the possibility the crash was planned. Perhaps it was the work of the opposition as part of a plot to raise public ire against Morsy ahead of the second anniversary of the 2011 revolution, the story suggests.

The paper quotes the president as saying that whoever is responsible for the accident will be punished regardless of their positions.

Independent Al-Shorouk newspaper reports that 40 prosecutors have been assigned to the case and that the train conductor is under arrest pending investigation. According to the paper, Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has allocated LE40,000 to each of the families of those killed. Survivors reportedly told the paper that the conductor departed from Minya station en route to Cairo Monday despite warnings from maintenance engineers.

Opposition papers highlight government failures and other deadly incidents that have occurred during Morsy's tenure.

Privately owned Al-Watan newspaper headlines its issue “The era of martyrs.” Answering calls that he and the transportation minister should resign, Qandil says in a statement to the paper that the corruption of the railways is the accumulation of decades of neglect preceding this government and therefore resignations are not the appropriate response.

Independent Al-Tahrir newspaper blames the failures of the Brotherhood-dominated government for multiple incidents that have claimed Egyptian lives.  

The paper reports the slow state response to the accident. According to the paper, civilians took the injured to hospitals in their cars and business owners in the area provided a tractor to remove the debris and a generator to power lights at the scene of the wreck before any official help arrived.  

The paper also reports that when some survivors refused to leave the scene, calling for the rights of their fallen colleagues, police forces ended their protest with violence.

In his column in Al-Shorouk newspaper, Wael Qandil asks for an investigation into all those criminally or politically liable for the accident. He asserts that it’s not enough to punish low-ranking employees while sparing ministers as has been done in past incidents.

Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Al-Sabah: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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