Egypt Military Council member denies media censorship, urges TV presenter Fouda to resume show

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Oct 2011

The ruling SCAF, under fire for attempts to muzzle the media, appears to be is backtracking

General Major Ismael Etman

Major General Ismael Etman، a member of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), yesterday evening denied that the army interfered or censored the media, during a phone call to ONTV's prime time public affairs programme, Baladna Bel Masry.

Etman also denied that SCAF forces its viewpoints on the media, though he went on to add that the ruling military only ask the media ensure that their news coverage and shows “respect the national interest.”

The Marjor General also urged star TV journalist Yosry Fouda to resume his own ONTV public Affairs programme, Akher Kalam. Fouda had announced that he was bringing an indefinite halt to his hugely popular TV show, in protest against pressures and “relentless censorship efforts.”

Fouda responded to Etman’s call by writing on his twitter account that he respects the Major General as a person, "I still need some answers.”

One day before he announced that the show will be cancelled, Fouda was expected to host internationally renowned Egyptian novelist Alaa El Aswany, a staunch and highly vocal critic of SCAF.

However, when the episode was cancelled, rumours circulated that Fouda was pressured by SCAF to include a pro-SCAF guest on the show. According to the story doing the rounds, an unnamed SCAF member called Foda and asked him to bring a certain journalist, known for his support for SCAF, and previously, the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

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