Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1356, (10 - 16 August 2017)
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1356, (10 - 16 August 2017)

Ahram Weekly

TV presenters suspended

Media regulators have ordered the suspension of two TV presenters for “violating public norms”, writes Mohamed Abdel-Baky

 

#Reham Said # Doaa Salah
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Two TV presenters were suspended last week for violating “media ethics” and “public norms” after airing segments in their shows said to encourage affairs between women and men outside of marriage.   

The decision was made on 2 August by the newly formed Media Workers Syndicate in cooperation with the Higher Council for Media Regulation (HCMR), which ordered the temporary suspension of TV presenters Reham Said and Doaa Salah.

Said, who hosts Sabaya Al-Kheir, a controversial show that discusses social issues on the privately owned Al-Nahar TV channel, was suspended for three months over an episode aired early this month that included a segment hosting a married woman and her “lover” who discussed their extra-marital affair.

In the show the woman appeared alongside the man, saying that her husband knew about the relationship and had allowed it.

“My husband knows about the relationship. We want to get divorced, but my father won’t allow it, and he is threatening to sue my husband because of an old debt,” the woman said.

The show later went viral on social media, sparking demands for Al-Nahar to be shut down as it was promoting ideas that aim to “destroy society”. 

The other presenter, Doaa Salah, who hosts the “Dody Show” on the same channel, was also ordered to be suspended for three months over an episode earlier this week in which she discussed the issue of women choosing to become single mothers.

Last week, Salah pretended in the show’s introduction to be pregnant, apparently encouraging other women to become pregnant outside of marriage and enjoy life as single mothers.

She said that women in Arab countries could not get pregnant via donor insemination and instead suggested that women in Egypt wanting to have children outside marriage make a financial agreement with a man to marry for a short period in order to get pregnant.

“You do not need a man to be a mother. There are new methods you can use to be an independent single mother. I know there are restrictions, but you are free to try different options to make your dream come true without a man,” Salah said, while posing as pregnant on the show.

Head of the Media Workers Syndicate Hamdi Al-Konayesi said in a statement on Tuesday that the two shows exploited “deviant cases in Egyptian society, breaching professional and ethical standards”.

He said this was not the first time Said had exploited such stories in order to gain media attention. Last year, Said was handed two prison sentences and fined LE25,000 for defaming a sexual assault victim on her show. She appealed both sentences.

The syndicate said the discussion on the show promoted “immoral ideas that are alien to our society and threaten the Egyptian family”.

Al-Konayesi said the decision to suspend Salah was partially prompted by her performance of a number of “bizarre and controversial acts” on her programme. In an older episode, Salah presented the show’s introduction while sitting in a bathtub in the studio.

The Al-Nahar Channel was notified of the decision to suspend both hosts, which the channel must uphold or else be considered in breach of the law. The two presenters can appeal the penalties within the next 15 days.

“These suspensions aim to prevent chaos in the media by curbing violations and preventing them from recurring,” the syndicate statement said.

It has also issued a warning to two other TV presenters, Said Hassaseen and Mohamed Al-Gheiti, for “professional and ethical violations”.

In one episode of Hassaseen’s show on the Al-Asema Channel, two guests had exchanged expletives, with one wielding his shoe on air, the syndicate said. While Al-Gheiti, whose show airs on the privately owned LTC channel, had accused Agriculture Ministry officials of corruption “without producing any evidence”, it said.

The Media Workers Syndicate was founded under the new media law passed earlier this year to regulate the media and outline professional standards for radio, TV and online outlets in Egypt. Earlier in the same year, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree forming the HCMR, which aims to regulate the media in Egypt.

The latter body is composed of 13 members selected by the president, parliament, the Press Syndicate, the Higher Council for Universities, the State Council and a representative from the Ministry of Finance.

However, the HCMR has not announced the mechanisms it will use to perform its job and what role it will play, whether regulating or monitoring.

Chairman of the HCMR Makram Mohamed Ahmed told Al-Ahram Weekly that his team had spent the last four months establishing the institution to enable it to regulate the media in Egypt.

“We are planning to create a national company for opinion polls before the end of the year and will also propose a law on the freedom of information in addition to improving the services provided to foreign journalists in Egypt,” Ahmed said.

In July, a month after the establishment of the HCMR, the council issued a decision banning private companies from conducting opinion polls on TV viewing in Egypt. Ahmed said at the time that the decision was in line with Article 4/92 concerning the press and the media, which gives the council the right to grant licences to companies surveying viewing and listening, as well as monitoring all stages of the process and approving the results.

There have recently been numerous surveys on TV programmes carried out by various parties, many of which were not conducted on a scientific basis using proper criteria. As a result, there have been fears that these surveys could be used to benefit some and harm others, damaging the integrity of the media.

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