Egypt’s social media star makes waves with plain talk

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Fatma Abdelsalam
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Updated 03 October 2017
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Egypt’s social media star makes waves with plain talk

CAIRO: Videos by rising social media star Fatma Abdelsalam are attracting millions of viewers in Egypt, many of whom enjoy her “common sense” take on social issues.
She made waves across social media with a sarcastic video on “Ten of the Most Dangerous Types of Men,” which she followed up with one about the most dangerous types of women. Her latest video got over 2 million views in 10 days.
But her video-blogging series on social media, titled “Kalam Badeehi” (“Common Sense Talk”) is not only intended to make people laugh, she said.
“People may think those two are just funny videos, (but) they aim to discuss what I perceive as ridiculous behaviors that are widely common in Egypt,” Abdelsalam told Arab News.
People love her spontaneity and sense of humor, as she tries to shatter gender-based stereotypes in Egyptian society.
“Although any ‘battle between the sexes’ video is always a hit, that wasn’t the plan initially,” she said.
“Our society is a very hard one to speak to, especially pointing out things that men do. It had to be done in a comedic, light tone,” she added.
“In my video on the dangerous types of men, my main aim was pointing out to women that the behaviors I spoke about shouldn’t be accepted by fellow women, and it’s unfair to them.”
Abdelsalam noticed that many of her female viewers related to the content of her videos. And she did the video on dangerous types of women to be fair to men as well.
In her videos, she appears without makeup and wears causal clothes, solely focusing on delivering her message.
“With the media insisting on setting new beauty standards, brainwashing everyone, we rarely see the natural human look anymore,” she said.
“I wanted to encourage more women to be confident without any colors on their faces, embrace their flaws, love their messy hair, and stop thinking that beauty comes in one look, shape and size.”
In a world full of vloggers, Abdelsalam knows that maintaining a high viewership is challenging, so efforts must be made to make content stand out.
“If anyone wants to stand out, he or she must be themselves. I wish there was a little more variety among Arab, specifically Egyptian, vloggers,” she said.
“The majority are doing comedy, and not their own comedy. They’re imitating the ones that got views already. Who wants to watch a copy?”
As her Facebook page is already followed by over 350,000 fans, Abdelsalam is becoming popular.
“I love meeting the page-followers, and I love their enthusiasm about the topics discussed in the videos,” she said.
“My husband is happy with all the success. He’s very supportive. My 12-year-old son gets ecstatic when people stop me to say hello. I think I make him proud, and that’s every parent’s dream.”


Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

Updated 19 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

  • Broadcast of political messages in coverage forbidden, analyst confirms.
  • Saudi football federation urges FIFA to sanction the Doha-owned channel.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has a justified case in complaining to FIFA over the “politicization” of the World Cup by the Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, a prominent TV analyst has said.
A flurry of comments by hosts and pundits aired on BeIN’s Arabic station prompted the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to complain to FIFA this week, saying the broadcaster was using the football tournament to spread political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.
In its complaint, the federation called on FIFA to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
One BeIN commentator accused Saudi Arabia of “selling out the Palestinian cause,” while a Doha-based international footballer invited on the channel was allowed to call for an end to the year-long boycott of Qatar by neighbors Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, principal TV research analyst at IHS Markit Technology, said that politicized coverage was expressly forbidden by world football’s governing body as well as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
“FIFA and UEFA forbid the transmission of political messages during football matches for which they control the rights. It’s not only comments by the broadcasters — but even banners; everything (political) is forbidden,” the analyst told Arab News.
“So messages about Palestine, about political things, are not allowed.”
Papavassilopoulos said that if there is evidence of such cases, authorities in the Kingdom would be justified in taking the matter to FIFA.
“If there are video clips that show BeIN media personnel speaking against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia has a case,” he said.
But whether FIFA will take any action against BeIN is another matter. Papavassilopoulos pointed to the fact that BeIN is a valued client of FIFA — it bought the rights to host the World Cup across the Middle East and North Africa — and that Qatar plans to host the tournament in 2022.
“BeIN media is a very good client for FIFA. And don’t forget that Qatar is the country that will host the 2022 World Cup,” he said. “It’s going to be very very hard for FIFA to impose penalties on BeIN media knowing that Qatar will hold the next World Cup.”
Some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against BeIN’s politicization of World Cup coverage, urging FIFA President Gianni Infantino to investigate the coverage.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.