Al-Sayed Al-Ghadban: The departure of a Radio icon

Dina Ezzat , Sunday 4 Dec 2022

Al-Sayed Al-Ghadban, the voice of radio during the July Revolution of 1952 and the guardian of the history of Egyptian radio, died last week at the age 94.

Al-Sayed Al-Ghadban


Al-Ghadban was a broadcaster whose name was associated with the glory of the Gamal Abdel-Nasser regime and whose commitment to media independence often put him at odds with professional realities, with a high price to pay at times.

Al-Ghadban passed after a long journey as a radio broadcaster, correspondent and anchor.

He was one of the first broadcasters of Sawt Al-Arab (Voice of the Arabs), which was put on the airwaves upon the instruction of Abdel-Nasser to promote Pan-Arabism. 

In its early years, Sawt Al-Arab played an important role in supporting the liberation movement of Arab countries from colonial powers. However, with its misguided reporting in the early days of the 1967 War, this service lost credibility. For his part, Al-Ghadban declined to spout misleading propaganda but insisted on sticking to the call for steadfastness.

Throughout his career, which included self-exile in Lebanon during the years of president Anwar El-Sadat, Al-Ghadban never lost faith in his commitment to the pursuit of an informative media that champions pan-Arabism.

Nor did he ever lose hope to see Egypt a prosperous and democratic country, as he said repeatedly in the years leading up to the January 2011 Revolution. 

Most of all, Al-Ghadban was permanently and firmly committed to the Palestinian cause, which he saw as the quintessential matter for all Arabs. Pan-Arabism, he believed, centered around the Palestinian Cause and should always remain so.

In June this year, Al-Ghadban shared with Al-Ahram Weekly his memories on the airwaves of Egyptian radio, his political path and his views on what makes state-run media serve the people and not the government.

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