Egypt halts new recruitment, employee contracts in national newspapers

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Updated 30 January 2020

Egypt halts new recruitment, employee contracts in national newspapers

  • Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly said on Monday that there was “dire need” to cut costs

CAIRO: The Egyptian government has announced new measures to reduce spending on national newspapers which have incurred huge debts by limiting recruitment and introducing austerity measures.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly said on Monday that there was “dire need” to cut costs and manage spending wisely in all national press institutions.

Madbouly stressed that the government will continue to support the institutions as long as they continue to achieve their objectives.

However, the government’s decision was derided by many journalists.

“This will probably lead to nothing in terms of the reforms the state seeks simply because it does not tackle the actual problem,” one journalist at Al-Ahram news agency who asked to remain anonymous said.

“The problem is that the state does not allow its newspapers to become independent and at the same time expects them to generate enough revenue to at least reach the breakeven point,” the journalist said.

The decision, announced by the cabinet earlier this week, has raised questions over the future of hundreds of journalists and employees who have been working for years with temporary contracts.

“It’s terrible for journalists because the move neglects their rights and basically asks them to bear the brunt of the state’s shortcomings,” another Al-Ahram journalist said.

“For instance, an Al-Ahram journalist who has been working for the newspaper for 10 years without being employed will now lose any hopes of being employed, so the newspaper will gradually lose competent and qualified journalists. Manpower is what matters if the state is to reform national newspapers in the red.”

The Syndicate of Journalists representative Diaa Rashwan said the public press is a strategic industry for the country that aims to protect national security. Rashwan said the press has two primary objectives: Provide a media service to citizens and defend the image of the homeland in the face of unconventional wars which target the minds of people.

“Applying what has been announced represents, in essence, a threat to the human power of the Egyptian national press which is a source of its distinctiveness and richness,” Rashwan added.

According to Arab News sources, tensions are boiling over at Al-Ahram especially that the newspaper is struggling to pay its annual end-of-year bonuses to its employees who feel their interests are not being taken into account.

In a statement, head of the authority which regulates state-run publications Karam Gabr said the move aims at helping institutions with limited resources meet their financial obligations toward employees with contracts, and stopping the addition of large numbers of staff to newspapers which would add further financial pressure on the press.

Gabr said papers are obliged to present a list of those working with temporary contracts and the duration of their service, as well as their job tasks in order to study the necessary steps that need to be taken.

Newspapers will still accept “young members who have technological capabilities, while taking into account the current circumstances regarding the inability of institutions to provide salaries to basic employees,” the statement said.

“The step aims at avoiding the mistakes that occurred in recent years in supplying institutions with large numbers [of employees] which has led to the current situation,” the statement added.

The authority will take measures in the next few days to implement a financial and administrative reform program and develop editorial content for state papers, Gabr said.


Publicis Groupe veteran Kamal Dimachkie leaves as new successor is named

Updated 20 October 2020

Publicis Groupe veteran Kamal Dimachkie leaves as new successor is named

  • Dimachkie’s career spans three decades of leadership and accomplishment in international and regional markets
  • Shoueiry founded the agency’s Social Content Lab and played a key role in cultivating digital design thinking across the region

RIYADH: Publicis Groupe MEA today announced the departure of Kamal Dimachkie, chief operating officer, Publicis Communications, UAE and Lower Gulf. Dimachkie is a senior executive who joined Leo Burnett in February 1985. The company has appointed Samer Shoueiry to assume the role in conjunction with his current responsibilities as chief digital officer, Publicis Communications, Middle East from Dec. 1. Dimachkie’s decision to leave comes after 33 years with the company. He will leave his current position on Dec. 31 and continue to act in a consultative capacity until June 2021 in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Dimachkie’s career spans three decades of leadership and accomplishment in international and regional markets including the US, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE.

Raja Trad, executive chairman at Publicis Groupe MEA said: “I respect Kamal’s decision. He has been a friend and a colleague for over three decades, and not just I but the entire Publicis Groupe family will miss him. His tenure at the Groupe has been characterized by a clear commitment to values that are central to our philosophy. Kamal’s adept leadership propelled the agency to new heights — we won more than 250 accolades and added numerous international and local clients to our roster. I want to thank him for his immeasurable contribution to the Groupe and wish him all the best for his professional future.”

Dimachkie added: “Leo Burnett and Publicis Groupe have been my life for the past 33 years, and I am proud to have been a part of a glorious journey during which I have had the opportunity to serve the company in different roles in six countries, to have contributed to numerous clients and raised the bar internally and within the industry. Part of this has been the joy of working with a wonderful team and leadership, whom I have partnered with, learnt from and shall forever call my friends and brothers in arms. I am grateful to have lived the glory days of advertising with one of the best agencies in the world and to have worked with some of the most inspiring and creative people. I look forward to working with Samer on the upcoming transition and wish him success in his new role.”

Shoueiry, who will take on Dimachkie’s role, has over 21 years of experience across business, design and innovation. He has consistently delivered a robust performance in Publicis’ Experience Design and Experience Strategy, founded the agency’s Social Content Lab and played a key role in cultivating digital design thinking across the region.

Commenting on his appointment, Trad said: “Samer has a record of leadership and value creation, deep experience in generating groundbreaking brand experiences, as well as a focus on strategic design, innovation excellence and a strong technological footing. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him to drive our digital transformation in the region and support the spread of innovation through investments in our people, technology, platforms and tools. Together, we will ensure that we continue to move our business forward in the Connected Age through a data-led, digital-first approach.”

Shoueiry further added: “Kamal has built a strong foundation for future growth, including strengthening our team and expanding our scope of work. The current climate has accelerated digital transformation globally, and we are looking at a future where online and offline coexist to augment consumer experience in an interconnected brand universe. E-commerce is a necessity, digital equities are your flagship stores, search and social your new outdoor. With this new beginning, I will focus on further strengthening our creative strategy-to-results development to offer the best consumer-centric experiences and build brand value.”