Egyptian Chronicles: A Strike in Maspero

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Strike in Maspero

It became a normal thing in Egypt nowadays to hear that there is a strike somewhere,whether the workers in factories or lawyers or pharmacists or railway workers .
But it is not a normal thing to hear that there is a strike and a protest 180px-Maspiro in Maspero aka The Egyptian Radio and TV Union HQ* , yes for the first time since the inauguration of the Egyptian TV iconic building in 1960s there is a strike there !!
Directors,editors,technicians and TV presenters from the local channels protested the decisions to exclude their programs or even not to be assigned with new programs and shows in the new programs plan because they do not fit the new development and improvement of the National TV. They are not only protest for this ,they are protesting against the corrupted managements that should be sacked from Maspero , I think this is their right. There is too much corruption in Maspero just like any governmental institution.
Before you go and say that the administration of Egyptian TV is right and the TV presenters need to be filtered and they do not fit..etc ,I would like you to know that there are some TV presenters like Bothina Kamal ,who found themselves excluded from the news and TV programs only because of their Political views.
Of course in the map of our national TV improvement ,the veiled TV presenters are not there despite the court orders and despite channels like BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera,Al Mehawer and Al Heyat have TV Presenters !!!
Anas El-Faky,the current the minister of information is under huge criticism because of his innovative plant to reboot the ERTU. El-Faky proved to be worse than Safwat El-Sherif , he is a new guard NDPian and so it is normally he is following GM’s new way of thinking !!
I must mention that El-Faky for the first time was hugely criticised for his failure or rather his propaganda machine failure in defending Mubarak’s regime in the war of Gaza.He was even criticised mainly in the official newspapers like Rosa Al Youssef.
El-Faky wants to reboot the ERTU in the the same way Gamal Mubarak wants to reboot Egypt , he is claiming that he wants to transfer the ERTU in an Egyptian version of the BBC , of course I highly doubt , if we want to have BBC-ed ERTU ,then we must have freedom of expression and democracy. Of course there are rumours from time to time about privatizing the ERTU ,it won’t be strange to be honest , El-Faky is from the Policies committee.
El-Faky is wasting millions on nonsense from our public money in useless changes in the ERTU , for instance he paid thousands of dollars to Lebanese Randa Daher for consultancy service !! Randa is the wife of Pierre Daher of LBC , I do not need to tell you that how I felt so sad when I read this news, with my all respect the LBC despite its success is not as….I can’t find the words to describe the ERTU,it is our old propaganda machine we love to hate.
you must know the ERTU staff technically built the TV channels of the Arab world especially the GCC,it is not that they are not innovative but they do not have the required atmosphere to become so in ERTU , give them more freedom ,fight corruption in order to give them better salaries and they will restore your local viewers from the Satellite channels in no time.
The connections are the main determinant of who can stay and who can’t in Maspero from a very long time not the expertises , just like any other governmental institution in this country.
I must n’t forget to mention that in the first day of strike, Gamila Ismail,the wife of Ayman Nour came and stood with her colleagues , Gamila before becoming the wife of Nour was nationally famous from the popular TV show in 1990s “Amani Wa Aghani”. Of course I know her appearance in the strike made some ERTU managers go coco for awhile.
In the end I wish all the success to those staff striking in front of Maspero, hopefully the minister and the ERTU administration rethink again.
Update#1 on the 4th of March 09
I do not understand what it is happening ,today I found contradicting news that the Strike was ended last night the 3rd of March when Minister AlFaky went to the protesters and assured to them that their demands would be fulfilled and no one will be fired or excluded in the new changes and improvement in Maspero. Of course this is what was mentioned in the official newspapers ,in the unofficial opposition and independent newspaper the strike is on !!
Update#2 on the 5th of March 09:
The strike is over , the official newspapers news were true , AlFaky saved the day after days of anger and strike.
Anyhow this strike was very unique and I believe it deserved more attention

*The Official Egyptian Radio and Television Union is known in Egypt as Maspero because it is located in Maspero Street,which is named after famous Egyptologist Gaston Maspero.
**Photo source : Ahmed Abdel Fatah
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