Two Egyptian TV presenters suspended for 'violating public norms'

Ahram Online , Wednesday 2 Aug 2017

Reham Saeed
Snapshot from Al-Nahar TV of Reham Saeed

Egypt's newly founded media union has ordered the temporary suspension of TV presenters Reham Saeed and Doaa Salah for discussing topics on screen that "violate public norms," state news agency MENA reported.

Reham Saeed, who hosts Sabaya El-Kheir, a show that discusses social issues on the privately-owned Al-Nahar TV channel, was ordered suspended for three months over an episode last week where she hosted a married woman and her "lover," who discussed their extra-marital affair.

The head of the media union Hamdy El-Konayissy said in a statement on Tuesday that the incident amounted to the "exploitation of deviant cases in Egyptian society, breaching professional and ethical standards."

El-Konayissy said that this was not the first time Saeed has exploited such stories for media attention.

Last year, Saeed was handed two prison sentences totalling one year and six months and fined EGP 25,000 for defaming a sexual assault victim on her show. She successfully appealed both sentences.

The other presenter, Doaa Salah, who hosts the Dody Show on the same channel, was also ordered suspended for three months over an episode earlier this week where she discussed the issue of women's choice to become single mothers.

The media union said that the discussion promotes "immoral ideas that are alien to our society and threatens the fabric of the Egyptian family."

El-Konayissy said the decision to suspend Salah was partially prompted by her performance of a number "bizarre and controversial acts" on her programme.

On the episode in question, Salah wore a fake pregnant belly to highlight her point.

In an older episode, Salah presented the show's intro while sitting up in a bathtub in the studio.

The union's statement said that Al-Nahar channel will be notified of the decision to suspend both hosts, which the channel must uphold or else be considered liable.

The two presenters can still appeal the penalty within 15 days.

The union said the suspensions aim to hold off "media chaos" by curbing violations and preventing them from recurring.

The union has also issued a warning to two other TV presenters, Saeed Hassasin and Mohamed El-Gheity, for "professional and ethical violations."

In an episode of Hassasin's show on Al-Asema TV Channel, two guests exchanged expletives with one wielding his shoe, the union said.

El-Gheity, whose show airs on the Lebanese-based LTC TV Channel, accused agriculture ministry officials of corruption "without evidence," the union said. 

If Hassasin and El-Gheity repeat these offenses, they could face a three-month suspension, the union's head said.

The media union was founded under a new media law passed earlier this year to regulate the media and outline professional standards for radio, TV and online outlets.

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