Citizens International

Media Strike Attempt to Settle Accounts by Former Regime Hangovers

posted December 5, 2012 by Ikhwan Web

Egyptian Newspapers and satellite TV channels on strike Tuesday and Wednesday are trying to settle accounts for former regime holdovers and loyalists who stubbornly refuse democratic transformation.

After President Mohamed Morsi issued his recent Constitutional Declaration, a number of newspapers and private satellite channels decided to go on strike Tuesday and Wednesday.

It seems certain that the so-called strike is an objection to President Morsi’s Decree dismissing the Public Prosecutor, and also his latest Decree to put the draft constitution to a popular referendum on December 15, 2012.

It perhaps is no surprise that striking newspapers and TV channels are all owned by 8 businessmen who happen to be the most loyal supporters of the former regime. Those, together with a number of other “elites”, are waging a desperate campaign to thwart any endeavors to end the transitional period and complete the democratic transformation in Egypt.

Striking daily newspaper “Al-Watan” has Magdy Al-Gallad for chief-editor. He is one of the promoters of the inheritance of power in favor of the ousted president’s son Gamal Mubarak. The paper is owned by businessman Mohamed Al-Amin, who also owns CBC satellite TV channels as well as Al-Nahar TV channel.

Amin tried to seize almost total control of the media after the January 25 revolution. He bought the largest proportion of shares of the Al-Youm Al-Sabea newspaper, in order to grab control of its editing policy. No wonder it joined the ‘strike’. The Al-Youm Al-Sabea newspaper’s chief-editor is Khaled Salah.

Meanwhile, Al-Masry Al-Youm is run by chief-editor Yasser Rizk – a journalist affiliated with the Military Council – and is owned by two businessmen Salah Diab and Naguib Sawiris (the latter also owns the satellite channel OnTV).

Salah Diab has huge lawsuits lined against him, never investigated – for so long frozen by former Public Prosecutor, relating to lands belonging to the State.

Naguib Sawiris has at least one major lawsuit to be considered by the Egyptian judiciary regarding his mobile phone network and its role in spying on Egypt. He is also close to former regime officials and cronies.

Dream satellite TV channel and Al-Sabah newspaper are owned by businessman Ahmed Bahgat – a close associate of former regime officials. Al-Sabah newspaper is run by Wael Ibrashi, who also presents the channel’s main program.

Striking newspapers Altahrir and Alshorouk are owned by a businessman called Ibrahim Al-Moalim. The chief-editor of Altahrir is Ibrahim Eissa, while Alshorouk is run by Imad-Al-Din Hussein.

Striking newspapers Al-Dostour is owned by businessman Reza Edward. The newspaper provided strong support for former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq.

Weekly press publications which also joined the strike were Alfagr and Alosbou. The first is owned by businessman Nassif Kazman, and run by chief-editor Adel Hammouda, a former regime loyalist.

The second (Alosbou) is  run by Mustafa Bakri, affiliated with the Mubarak regime and the Military Council, and relies on advertising revenue from businessmen belonging to the former regime.

Partisan newspapers Al-Wafd and Al-Ahaly also joined the strike. The first’s Board of Directors is chaired by businessman Sayyid Badawi, Wafd Party chairman, who has strong relationships with the former regime, and is accused of being the former regime’s collaborator in liquidating Al-Dostour newspaper, which was opposed to the former regime.

Finally, Al-Ahaly newspaper, a very low circulation journal, is run by Refaat Al-Saeed, head of the Tagamou party, who was appointed by former President Hosni Mubarak as a member in the Shura Council (upper house of Egyptian parliament).