The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

State media clean-up?

Well, the heads of all the state newspapers as well as of the Egyptian Radio and TV Union were replaced last week. The extent of the commitment to change is unclear, however, given that most of them have been replaced by men (and they are all men, no change there...) who were also high-ranking figures within these institutions under the former regime. 

(I don't know enough about these people and their relationship to the Mubarak regime, if any of you readers have information, please do share!) 

At flagship daily newspaper Al Ahram, the new CEO is -- according to a source of mine there -- a disappointment in that he is "one student of the corrupted Ibrahim Nafie," (the infamous former CEO who destroyed the paper over his long reign and was replaced in 2008). But the new editor was actually the choice of reporters, who held a straw poll for the position earlier this month. 

Meanwhile, it is good to see Egyptian TV personalities continuing to be held to some account by YouTube shows like the Bassem Youssef Show and Monatov -- two online productions that are great sources of satire and commentary. In Episode 5, Youssef looks at some of the State media employees who during the revolution impersonated demonstrators on the air (!). In Episode 6, he shows how the same TV presenters (on the privately owned el Mehwar channel) who hosted an anonymous demonstrator who claimed to have been trained by American Jews and Qataris (and turned out to be a journalist), then claimed that they had not only supported the revolution but that "we started the revolution." These people have no shame. 

Mona also makes fun of some of the amazing contortions of pop singers and media figures who have had to quickly change their position on the revolution. 

I sat in on the filming of some of the Bassem Youssef show a while back, and did a radio story on him ("Egypt's Jon Stewart") you can hear here.