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Egyptian TV channel pulls interview with former head of anti-corruption agency

Talk-show 90 Minutes was due to return to the air after a long absence with an interview with the former anti-corruption tsar, who was dismissed earlier this year

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 Oct 2016
 Moataz Al-Demerdash
Television presenter Moataz Al-Demerdash (Snapshot From Youtube)
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The cancellation of a TV interview with former anti-corruption tsar Hisham Geneina, scheduled for broadcast on Sunday on Mehwar satellite channel, has caused controversy in Egypt.

The interview with anchor Moataz El-Demerdash was scheduled to go ahead in the second part of El-Demerdash’s 90 Minutes talk show on Sunday evening, and had been trailed for three days in advance.

Geneina was set to talk about the circumstances of his recent trial, in addition to other issues related to his investigation into state corruption.

The Sunday show would be the first episode in a new series of 90 Minutes, which El-Demerdash left in 2011.

Instead, the channel announced that the episode would be cancelled; subsequently the programme’s official Facebook page stated an interview of Egyptian football coach Hossam Hassan would be broadcast instead.

El-Demerdash has threatened to resign from the channel in response to the decision, according to media reports. The decision to pull the interview has been widely discussed online and by local media.

Other reports suggested that the show was postponed due to "technical issues" and is not related by any means to political pressure.

No official statements have been made by the anchor or the channel officials.

Geneina headed Egypt's Central Auditing Organisation, the main state corruption watchdog, from 2012 until March 2016, when he was relieved of duty by presidential decree.

Before his dismissal, Geneina stated that the amount of funds embezzled in corruption in the country exceeded EGP 600 billion, a statement that quickly caught media attention.

He was later directed to State Security Prosecution, and in July was sentenced to a year in prison for "spreading false news", which was suspended on payment of a fine.

Pro-government media repeatedly accused Geneina of being a supporter of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
 

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