Famous Egyptian TV host sacked after challenging ex-army officer on air

Zeinab El Gundy, Monday 25 Jul 2011

Dina Abdel Rahman was sacked by the owner of her channel after she challenged a retired Air Force major general to back up his allegations against presidential candidates with evidence

Dina Abdel Rahman
Dina Abdel Rahman

Famous Egyptian TV host, Dina Abdel Rahman, was sacked from her morning show on Dream TV 2 after interviewing and challenging a retired air force major general on air

The strategic analyst and retired air force major general, Abdel Moneim Kato, accused two unnamed potential presidential candidates of implementing an American agenda in an interview in Al Shorouk newspaper.

Abdel Rahman followed up in a live interview on her show with a question to Kato if he had evidence to support that accusation, which he answered her that he was only speculating.

The ex-military man criticised Abdel Rahman for highlighting columnist Naglaa Badir in the daily press segment of her show on Sunday. Naglaa Badir criticised the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) for attacking the April 6 Youth Movement, accusing the youth of turning the people against the army in her column Sunday in Daily Tahrir newspaper.

Kato started a verbal fencing match by telling Abdel Rahman that she should choose respectable journalists to cover, instead of “those saboteurs.” Abdel Rahman answered him, sarcastically, that he should tell her who these respectable journalists were. 

The retired major general Kato also insinuated that the ruling military was teaching the Egyptian people ABC’s of democracy.

The show ended suddenly after this conversation, before its scheduled time. Very shortly after, social media networks leaked news that the Dream TV network owner, Ahmed Bahgat, fired Dina Abdel Rahman for challenging Kato.

The news was confirmed with a tweet by TV host Yosri Fouda, who contacted Abdel Rahman directly after hearing the news. Her crew also confirmed the news to news websites, adding that they were standing beside her position and will not continue working for the program.

There was conflicting news all night long from the Dream TV network, but finally it was confirmed that she left. Later it was announced that rival networks, ONTV and Tahrir TV, have started to negotiate with her. 

Abdel Rahman said that she respects the military, but thinks that the SCAF should not be spared criticism, as it is playing a political role. She insists that as a good journalist she was doing her job in a professional manner.

Bahgat’s actions were regarded by activists as another blow to freedom of expression and journalism in the country; it was viewed as an attempt by the SCAF to silence journalists and reporters in the country who dare criticise the political decisions of the military council.

Brazilian cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, has published a cartoon showing Dina Abdel Rahman being silenced by a SCAF member in one of the most recent reactions from abroad about the decision. 

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