The chairman of Egypt’s giant public broadcaster Egypt Radio & Television Union (ERTU) is under arrest and facing charges of misusing public funds. Osama el-Sheikh, the ERTU chairman, has joined his former boss, Egypt’s minister in charge of information, Anas al-Fikki, who was arrested on Feb 23 on charges of corruption.
Egypt’s attorney general has frozen the assets of both men, and forbidden them from leaving the country.
Egytpt’s new broadcasting freedoms have resulted in greater demand for satellite capacity, says Nilesat’s CTO Salah Hamza. “The new freedoms we are seeing in the Middle East are leading to a fresh demand for satellite capacity. But would-be broadcasters want to be on our neighbourhood,” says Hamza. “This itself could lead to a major flowering of creativity. In general the national stations have fallen well behind the private [non-governmental] channels. Egypt’s new Prime Minister seemed to recognise this when he first visited the private TV channels prior to visiting Egypt’s public channels. He feels that if he wants to talk to people he had to address the private stations where the mass market viewers are.”