Analysts: Egypt Aims at Bringing TV Talk Shows and News Bulletins under Control of State Television
Egypt’s information minister Anas el-Fiqi, maintained that new licenses for private TV satellite uplinks would be distributed after authorities revoked the previous licenses of about a dozen companies issued by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority in October.
According to observers, the state seeks to intensify government control of the media over private TV coverage from the country ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for late November in a bid to prevent exposure.
El-Fiqi has vowed to end what the government describes as "an unregulated media industry"; however, media professionals allege the measure aims at putting all live broadcasts, including TV talk shows and news bulletins, under the control of state television.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies director, Bahey el-Din Hassan, emphasized that he believed el-Fiqi’s measure is intended to give government media "a monopoly on live broadcasts". He stated that the opposition will be gradually silenced with an increase in media blackout.
Furthermore, the Egyptian regulator also set new rules for companies sending text messages – known as SMS aggregators – requiring them to obtain licenses, a move activists, including the Muslim Brotherhood who made full use of the service during the 2005 parliamentary polls, stress will quash efforts to mobilize voters for the November 28 balloting.
Critics indicated that the progression of new restrictions and regulations is without doubt intended to suffocate Egypt’s vibrant media landscape ahead of the elections in what they described as an “authoritarian country”.