Egypt TV controversies ‘show need to boost standards’

Egypt TV controversies ‘show need to boost standards’
Head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan holds a pen in a show of solidarity with the victims of attack in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, at the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, in this Jan. 11, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 07 August 2017

Egypt TV controversies ‘show need to boost standards’

Egypt TV controversies ‘show need to boost standards’

CAIRO: A string of controversial TV stunts in Egypt illustrates a need to boost standards in the local media sector, according to an academic in the field.
Two Egyptian TV hosts were recently handed three-month suspensions over shows about single mothers and wives cheating on their husbands.
Egypt’s Media Syndicate — a regulatory body established by the country’s president — announced the suspension of hosts Reham Saeed and Doaa Salah, describing the content aired on their programs as inappropriate.
Hamdi Al-Konaisi, head of the syndicate, said the body’s media-monitoring committee had noted a number of “violations” concerning a number of television hosts, which prompted the syndicate to act as per the law to stop such incidents.
The suspensions, he added, were intended to prevent what he described as the “media chaos on Egyptian screens.”
The recent controversies suggest that more education is required in the sector, commentators said.
In comments to Arab News, Dr. Mohammad Saraya, a mass communication teacher at Misr International University, said that the media sector in Egypt will be improved if candidates applying for media jobs are selected on professional standards.
“We need educated presenters who studied the professional and ethical standards of this job. If candidates to such roles are chosen carefully, we would see fewer mistakes on our screens.”
“I’m against suspensions because if you stop one unprofessional presenter, others will take their place, if audiences decide to keep on wanting this level of content.”

‘Unfaithful wives’, ‘single mothers’
Saeed, host of “Sabaya El-Khair,” stirred controversy after inviting a married woman and her lover to talk about their affair, basing the episode on how the woman is cheating on her husband.
The syndicate objected to the alleged suggestion that women cheating on their husbands is a common phenomenon in Egyptian society, claiming that the program’s team attempted “to exploit an unusual situation.”
Saeed is regarded by some as a controversial presenter, and her show has been previously suspended for airing private photographs of a sexual harassment victim and claiming her personal choices warranted the assault.
Salah — the host of “Dodi Show,” a program dedicated to beauty and fashion — has received media backlash for several apparent attempts to boost audience numbers.
In a recent episode, Salah pretended to be pregnant, and went on to say that a woman has the ability to be a single mother if she makes a financial agreement with the baby’s father.
The syndicate accused her of promoting ideas deemed as “strange to Egyptian social norms.”
For no particular reason, Salah previously appeared in a bathtub in the studio, claiming she aims to tackle “judgmental minds” and “those who quickly misunderstand others.”
Both Saeed and Salah work in the same privately-owned Al-Nahar TV channel. But other Egyptian channels have also been linked to incidents involving presenters pulling outlandish stunts in an attempt to attract viewers.
The syndicate suspended a female presenter on the LTC network earlier in July for pretending to snort heroin on air.
Another presenter on the same channel also stirred controversy after her husband “divorced” her on air. The host, presenting an episode on high divorce rates in Egypt, said that her husband’s call was staged.
Egypt has long been a major regional player in the media sector. It was the first Arab nation to introduce the printing press and the first African and Arab country to launch its own satellite, Nilesat, in 1998.