Egypt Tahrir Inspires New TV Channels


The Egyptian Gazette
By Mohssen Arishie

Fundamentalist organisations, wealthy political activists and newly founded political parties, financed by prosperous businessmen, are competing to launch private television channels.
In addition to broadcasting the political attitudes of their proprietors, the new channels will compete for a bigger slice of the cake of the post-revolution advertising industry.

The race on air has become more intense since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Egypt’s de facto ruler, declared its commitment to the deadlines endorsed by last March’s referendum for parliamentary and presidential elections.

Suggestions made to the managers of these new channels reveal that the dramatic events in Al Tahrir Square during and after the revolution will be used as ammunition in the fierce battles AHEAD, among these channels and against their predecessors.

The competition picked up steam when the State Security Agency (SSA) was dismantled last February.

Under the much-despised SSA, the owner(s) of a new television channel (or any other part of the media machine) had to woo senior officers in the Agency to get a licence.

According to a post-revolution decree issued by the Chairman of the General Authority of Investment and Free Zones, the approval of the National Security Agency (which has replaced the SSA) for any new newspaper, television channel, etc. is not necessary.

The first new post-revolution television channel is, appropriately, called Al Tahrir.

Its owners and managers say that Al Tahrir will serve as a platform for young demonstrators to express themselves, their ideas and their future prospects, stressing that it will represent all political hues and tendencies.

The channel is independent and free from manipulation by businesspeople or any political movement or party. The channel’s pillars are said to be freedom of expression, clarity and objectivity.

If you watch Al Tahrir TV for a few hours, you’ll soon realise that its owners want to increase the viewers’ awareness, culturally, intellectually, politically and democratically.

On its page on social-network website Facebook, the channel, chaired by journalist Ibrahim Eissa, touts the idea that it draws its inspiration from the souls of revolutionary martyrs.

The staff have been carefully selected and include television presenter Mahmoud Saad, journalist Nawara Negm (daughter of lyricist Ahmed Fouad Negm), scriptwriter and journalist Bilal Fadl, and a group of young press talents.

In the meantime, the owner of a music production company, Nasr Mahrous, is spending $45,000 on launching a new television channel inspired by the events in Al Tahrir Square.

One of the wealthy Egyptians who want to own a television channel is Saad el-Gendi, former chairman of Ismaili Sporting Club, whose players are distinctive for their saffron-coloured jerseys.

El-Gendi is suspected of bribery, while at the helm of this club, located near Suez Canal.

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