At the end of the work day, protesters at the state television building, Maspero, resume their daily demonstrations against the newly appointed heads of the state TV and radio, in addition to some of the previous regimes figures, who remain unchanged.
“We are demonstrating until those figures are changed,” asserts Amany El-Sabah, an anchor at Radio Central Data channel, to Ahram Online.
Maspero protesters are calling for a TV and a radio channel to act as the mouthpiece of the revolution. “The state TV system does not look like it’s going to change soon, so give us an open channel,” says anchor Hala Fahmy.
Prime Minister Essam Sharaf had deposed the old pro-regime figures, replacing them with new figures in response to the previous calls of the Maspero protesters. However, these new figures inspired anger among many state TV and radio employees, who believe they mirror the agenda of the old regime.
“This is just a pain killer to calm people down without an actual shift in calibre,” said Abdel Nasser El-Banna, of NileTV’s MO3ed Programmes and the Egyptian Satellite Channel.
“Those old figures were breast fed with corrupted milk for several years,” Manal Agrama, managing editor of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union Magazine, told Ahram Online.
Sharaf has assigned Nihal Kamal to replace Nadia Haleem as head of the TV department, Ibrahim El-Sayed takes over from Abdel Latif el-Manawi as head of the news department and Ismaiel El-Sheshtawi replaces Entsar Shalaby as head of the radio department.
Maspero protesters are specifically against the appointments of Saad Abbaas as chairman of Cairo Voice, Ismail El-Sheshtawi as head of the radio department and Sami El-Sherif, head of Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU).
The sacked heads are now assigned as consultants to the three departments. “Why are they giving corrupt figures a higher post? As if we are kids and they think they can convince us with any nonsense,” Agrama told Ahram Online.
Of all the protesters, the employees working in radio are the most angered by their new head, El-Sheshtawi. “This person is strongly allied with the old regime and is a member of the counter-revolution,” said El-Sabah.
Meanwhile, TV and news employees are less angry and split between those who agree with the appointments of Kamal and El-Sayyed and those who wish to see them leave. “They are honourable people, but this is not the change the Egyptian media needs now,” said Fahmy.
Furthermore, state TV protesters are furious with the fact that even after the prime minister sent a committee headed by Sekina Fouad, a distinguished author, to get a picture of the media coalition’s demands, he still took the advice of El-Sherif, the ERTU head, instead of theirs, according to El-Sabah.
Moreover, Maspero protesters are calling for a minimum wage of LE2000, a hierarchical restructuring of ERTU employees, election of heads of the department and delegation of a committee to represent them. The committee consists of three media figures and two from the finance sector. Media representatives recommended by protesters are Hafez Merazi, Hamdi Kandeel and Sekina Fouad.
Several protests have been held in the state television building during the past month, pushing to change the heads, their deputies and for an unbiased media. Maspero protesters object strongly to the blatantly false and pro-regime reports that were published by state media during the 18 days of protest at the start of the Egyptian revolution that culminated in former president Hosni Mubarak stepping down.
The Prime Minister's new appointments were only one of several changes made among state media figures this week.