According to the NYT, Safaa Hegazy, the director of state-run Egyptian radio and television, barred eight anchorwomen from appearing on the air for a month, saying they were overweight. Hegazy ordered the women to go on a diet during their suspensions, Al-Ahram, a state owned website reportedly said.
Khadija Khatab, one of the eight anchorwomen, said that she had not yet been formally notified but added that she was recently told that “measures will be taken against” those who fail to lose weight by mid-September, according to an interview she gave to a privately owned television station.
“I believe I am an ordinary Egyptian woman who looks normal, and I don’t wear too much make-up,” Khatab said.
Viewership of state television, long dismissed by many Egyptians as a comically biased news source, fell significantly after the uprising that removed President Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011.
“They don’t understand that people don’t watch them because they have no credibility, skills or quality,” said Mostafa Shawky, a free-press advocate with the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression. “It has nothing to do with looks. But it goes to show that actual skill is not something they care about.”