Sisification of the Media – a Hostile Takeover

first_imgWith the state being owner and regulator at the same time, media companies operate in a heavily politicized field and with the secret services capturing ground, media pluralism is at the greatest risk ever in Egypt. Detained woman journalist pressured by interrogator, harassed by prison staff Media contacts “President al-Sisi has clearly been tightening his grip over the Egyptian media landscape in recent months”, said Olaf Steenfadt, RSF’s Global Project Director for MOM. “The state is now the biggest owner in the broadcast field and orchestrates hostile takeovers to acquire full control over the whole media landscape”. T: +49 30 60989533-55 Reporters Without Borders launches the Media Ownership Monitor Egypt. As a dominant player in the whole region, the Egyptian media industry has always suffered from a heavy legacy of state control, developed at the discretion of politics and economy. Under strongman President al-Sisi, the situation is deteriorating faster and faster as the whole media landscape is being restructured through systematic transfers of property, including an involvement of the security and intelligence apparatus. As a result it is now left almost fully aligned with the current regime. Last not least, audience data is being monopolized by the Egyptian state and kept secret, too. Even though the MOM researchers managed to gather, validate and analyze a vast set of information with the help of reliable sources such as local experts, we are not allowed to release the actual numbers until further notice. The Supreme Council for Media Regulation urges market research firms not to publish the results of any surveys until they are endorsed by the Council – which usually never happens. So to this day, no single survey on media consumption in Egypt is publicly available. Almost all websites of RSF are among the many hundreds that are blocked inside Egypt. MOM is currently not blocked, but it is likely that it will be blocked again at some point. We therefore decided to host it on a Tor server as well in order to allow for access from within the country. February 6, 2021 Find out more Concentrated markets in the hands of the state and the intelligence services News RSF_en www.reporter-ohne-grenzen.de/presse Paris, January 25, 2018 – A hostile takeover of Egypt’s media is under way, leaving the influence on public opinion to be controlled by the state, the secret services and a few wealthy owners loyal to the regime and with close ties to the former president Hosni Mubarak. The coordinated attack on media freedom and pluralism is facilitated by a set of new laws restructuring the media sector in 2018 and by the ongoing pressure on journalists and media workers by the state. January 25, 2019 Sisification of the Media – a Hostile Takeover Initiated by Reporters Without Borders and funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) is a global research and advocacy project to promote transparency and media pluralism worldwide. Country studies have been published so far in Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Cambodia, Ghana, Lebanon, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine. All MOM results are available online at www.mom-rsf.org.   EgyptMiddle East – North Africa Reports and statistics Organisation to go further The president also appoints the head of the General Intelligence, which controls Egyptian Media Group (EMG), one of the most dominant media companies, through its own investment firm, Eagle Capital. Since 2016, EMG has been conducting a vast campaign to acquire shares in each media sector concluding a dozen deals to extend its control and reinforcing the leverage of the security apparatus in the sector. President al-Sisi also appoints the head of the Military Intelligence, which controls Falcon Group, a security company that also conducted deals in the media sector and acquired at least two TV networks and two radio stations since 2013. “Sisification” of the media system Help by sharing this information Ulrike Gruska / Christoph Dreyer / Anne Renzenbrink / Juliane Matthey The Egyptian media market appears purposely opaque as the access to any piece of data is, though legally provided, effectively and actively blocked in practice. Follow the news on Egypt While the post-revolutionary constitution of 2014 required independent bodies to regulate the media sector, new laws authorize the president to directly appoint the head and some of the members of the newly created Supreme Council for Media Regulation, which holds the power to fine or suspend publications and broadcasters and issue or revoke licences (Law 180/2018). He also has the authority to appoint the head and some of the members of the National Media Authority (Law 178/2018) that governs the state-owned broadcast sector and the National Press Authority (Law 179/2018) for the state-owned print and online outlets. These two bodies are in charge of appointing and supervising board members and the executive management. EgyptMiddle East – North Africa Reports and statistics center_img Although transparency is officially required for any Egyptian media outlet registered as a company, the MOM team could not retrieve a single file from the Company Registry because an absurdly high fee was demanded illegally to access corporate information. As such, this type of data had to be considered as unavailable. The Egyptian Media Group, indirectly controlled by the secret service, dominates the broadcast sector, especially in satellite TV, closely followed by the state and by the privately owned Trenta and Cleopatra Media companies. The radio sector is largely dominated by the state as well, who owns radio stations directly or through the publicly-owned Nile Radio Company, followed by the privately-owned Nile Radio Productions and D Media for Media Production Company, which is also a key player in the TV sector. Data in the mist As a result, the Egyptian intelligence services are now linked to twelve of the surveyed media entities: eight broadcast media outlets (Mega FM, Nagham FM and Shabee FM, Al Hayah, ON E, Extra News, DRN and El Radio 9090FM), two print outlets and their online editions (Al Youm Al Sabea, Al Watan). Arbitrary interrogations and detentions, violence against journalists by the state and impunity for related crimes create an extremely insecure and dangerous environment to work in. As a result, Egypt is the first out of 21 MOM country editions published or in the making where Reporters Without Borders’ staff didn’t dare to enter the country and where our local partner organisation is not being mentioned due to security concerns. News Reporter ohne Grenzen / Reporters Without Borders Germany February 1, 2021 Find out more Egypt’s strongman, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, engineered a second term as president in early 2018. One of his first moves was to adopt a set of laws to reshuffle the media landscape and extend his powers on it, both in the public and the private sectors. The print sector is concentrated around the public and state-owned Al Ahram Establishment, Dar Akhbar Al Youm and Dar El tahrir for Printing and Publishing as well as the private Al Masry Establishment for Press, Printing and Publishing and Advertising owned by prominent businessman Salah Diab. In addition – and, again, in theory – a new set of laws also requires each media outlet to publish financial statements and balance sheets, but the executive authority has not yet issued any of the executive sub-regulations to allow these laws to be enforced. As a result, financial information and management data was unavailable to the MOM team. By comparison, the online news and information market seems more diverse although the most popular platforms are digital versions of existing media outlets reinforcing their influence. Some of the most popular sites include Youm7 owned by The Egyptian Media Group, Masrawy owned by giant telecommunication tycoon Naguib Sawiris, Al Bawaba News owned by the Arab Center for Journalism led by MP Abdel Rahim Ali, and Sada El Balad News owned by Cleopatra Media Company. Less press freedom than ever in Egypt, 10 years after revolution News [email protected] Receive email alerts For the first time, these structures, connections and the main actors are now becoming visible in a comprehensive, data-journalistic investigation that was published by Reporters Without Borders today. The ‘Media Ownership Monitor’ (MOM) Egypt is available online at http://egypt.mom-rsf.org in Arabic and English. News Since President al-Sisi took office, a dozen of once important media owners have seen their influence shrink, as they have been pushed to sell their shares partly or entirely to companies linked to intelligence bodies. Some managed to maintain some of their fading presence through the shareholding structure, and some others keep merely symbolic roles within the management of their own media outlets. Meanwhile, businessmen who support the current regime did not have to sell shares, for example Mohammed Abu El-Enein, the owner of Sada Al Balad, known to fully support al-Sisi’s policies. Particularly, the heavy investments in the media sector made by the General Intelligence raise questions. Some investigation points towards the United Arab Emirates as a source, but this could not be confirmed independently and, not surprisingly, the secret service remains rather secretive in this regard. Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein back home after four years in prison Physical and legal abyss The MOM study analyzed 41 national Egyptian media outlets known to be the most popular ones in the country. It illustrates that, across all sectors, more than half of the media landscape is now concentrated in the hands of the state (through the National Media Authority and the National Press Authority, 36.6% of the surveyed media), and of intelligence bodies (through the Egyptian Media Group, 12.2%, and the Falcon Group, 4.9% of the surveyed media). Media Ownership Monitor January 22, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Council Incumbents to Run Unopposed in Ocean City Election

first_imgCity Hall, 861 Asbury Ave. By Donald WittkowskiCity Council members Karen Bergman, Keith Hartzell and Peter Madden will, no doubt, feel extraordinarily confident of their chances of winning re-election when they step into the voting booth.That’s because the three incumbents will face absolutely no opposition in Ocean City’s May 8 municipal election.No other Council candidates submitted nominating petitions by Monday’s filing deadline, ensuring that Bergman, Hartzell and Madden will run unopposed for a new four-year term on the governing body.Mayor Jay Gillian, however, will be challenged by former Councilman John Flood in the mayoral election. As previously reported by OCNJDaily.com, both Gillian and Flood turned in their nominating petitions last week, setting up a clash between two experienced, high-profile politicians.Bergman, Hartzell and Madden, though, will face no such drama while running unopposed in the election for the three at-large Council seats. All three said Monday they believe the lack of opposition suggests that voters are satisfied with the direction the city is heading during their time on Council.“Generally, people are happy with the way things are going in Ocean City,” Madden said. “Right now, we’re working together and getting things done.”Incumbents Karen Bergman and Peter Madden are touting their teamwork.Madden, 40, who has served as Council president for the past two years, is seeking his second term. He is the broker and manager of the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach real estate office on Battersea Road.Bergman, who has been touting the teamwork between Council and Gillian’s administration, agreed with Madden about voter sentiment.“I think people are happy,” she said. “I don’t think people want to break up our team. That’s a good thing. I’m proud to be part of the Council and the administration.”Bergman, 56, won election in 2016 to fill the unexpired term of former at-large Councilman Michael Allegretto, who resigned in 2015 to become the city’s director of Community Services.Bergman served as a Second Ward councilwoman from 2008 to 2012, but chose not to seek re-election in 2012. She returned to the governing body in 2015, when she was unanimously appointed by Council to temporarily fill Allegretto’s vacant seat leading up to the 2016 election. She is the director of catering at the Flanders Hotel.Keith Hartzell, seen here during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run, is Council’s longest-serving member.Expressing surprise that no other candidates are running, Hartzell said he always assumed he would have an opponent when he began campaigning in January. Despite running unopposed, he said he still plans to go door to door to meet with voters in the next two months heading into the election.“I’m extremely humbled that I’m not going to be challenged. I hope that’s an indication that we’re doing a good job,” he said.Hartzell, 61, is the longest-serving member on Council. He first won election in 2006 and is seeking his fourth term. He is the regional sales manager for von Drehle Corp., a manufacturer of paper towels and tissue products.City Council includes seven members altogether. Council’s four ward seats were up for election in 2016.In the past two years, Council and the mayor have been focusing on an array of capital improvements, including beach replenishment, upgrades to the tourist-friendly Boardwalk, a series of drainage projects to reduce coastal flooding and the dredging of the shallow back bays.last_img read more

British NFL star proposes to Olympian girlfriend mid-game

first_imgDenver Broncos star Menelik Watson proposed to girlfriend Azania Stewart during his pre-season clash against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.The Manchester-born offensive tackler, 28, spotted his partner in the crowd at the Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado, and asked for her hand in marriage there and then.Stewart was part of the 2012 Team GB basketball team that competed at the Olympics.Speaking to BTV after the game, Watson said: “It was spontaneous. I came in, got changed, I had a couple good reps out there so was feeling pretty good and just thought to myself, why not.”She was shocked, naturally. She didn’t think I was serious at first.”Stewart, who was in the stands, said: “He came over, got down on one knee and said, ‘Will you marry me’. “I said, ‘Are you joking’, he said, ‘No I promise’, I just started crying and said yes.”Stewart added: “He’s wonderful, he’s a big softy at home but a beast here. I see two sides to him and no one sees the teddy bear one that I get. He’s an awesome man, very humble and I’m excited for him for the rest of the season.last_img read more