Egypt’s public broadcaster, the Egyptian Radio & Television Union (ERTU) is to be restructured in order to be more competitive against the growing importance of privately-funded commercial channels in the country and beyond.
The ERTU’s headquarters are in the Nile-side ‘Maspero’ building. According to Minister of Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Ibrahim Heneidy, a new law is being drafted to bring Maspero under the supervision of one authority. “This is in line with Article 213 of the new constitution and aims at promoting the competitive capacity of Maspero in a market increasingly dominated by the private sector,” Heneidy told parliamentary reporters in a press conference in Cairo.
Heneidy said the new 2014 Constitution says that a national media authority be established to take charge of supervising all government-owned audiovisual and digital media outlets, developing their financial assets and reinforcing their independence and impartiality. “As a result, a legislative reform committee is currently in the process of drafting a new law aimed at achieving the philosophy of Article 213 and turning the anticipated national media authority into a reality,” said Heneidy.
Heneidy also disclosed that the committee will hold a number of hearing sessions this coming week to review reforms proposed by Maspero officials, media experts and former information ministers. “We want the voice of the national media to be more influential and competitive, not necessarily reflecting the state or the government’s point of view but giving the people a different background and vision about what is going on inside and outside Egypt,” said Heneidy.
Heneidy said Maspero has huge technical and technological capacities that have to be utilised to be more competitive. It is generally accepted that some 30,000 staff are employed by the current ERTU. “We hope the new national media authority will do this job: relieve Maspero of bureaucracy, develop its financial capacities, and help it deliver in-depth coverage from a Egyptian perspective,” said Heneidy.