Egypt state media outlets blast Muslim Brotherhood 'interference'

Ahram Online , Tuesday 25 Jun 2013

Employees of state broadcaster and editor-in-chief of leading state daily decry alleged interference by Muslim Brotherhood, presidency in editorial policy

Egyptian state television employees are gathering votes calling for the dismissal of presidential media representative Ahmed Abdel-Aziz after accusing him of "interfering with editorial policy," Amer El-Wakil, news editor at the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (Maspero), said according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website.

Al-Wakil said on private-owned satellite television channel ONtv that Abdel-Aziz, who represents the presidency for media affairs, had demanded last Friday that coverage of upcoming protests should be restricted to pro-government rallies, while ignoring planned opposition protests against President Mohamed Morsi.

Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist demonstrators gathered in a massive rally on Friday to support the president against expected mass protests slated for next week. The event received generous coverage on Egyptian television, while parallel counter-rallies by the opposition were largely ignored.

Maspero employees attempted to explain to Abdel-Aziz that opposition protests, too, especially one held at the Ministry of Defence, must also be covered, according to El-Wakil. He added, however, that he had been snubbed by Abdel-Aziz, who insisted that his initial instructions be followed.

According to Al-Ahram, El-Wakil said that the head of news at Maspero did not come to work on Saturday to protest alleged interference by the presidency.

Earlier, state-owned daily Al-Akhbar's chief editor, Mohamed Hassan El-Banna, criticised the Muslim Brotherhood – from which President Morsi hails – saying he had been contacted by one of the group's members who had condemned the paper's coverage.

"Some imagined that Al-Akhbar, as a newspaper falling under the auspices of the government ... will say 'Amen' to whatever the government says and conceal facts and information about the regime, deceiving its readers," El-Banna said, defiantly stating the impossibility of this scenario.

The Muslim Brotherhood and presidency are accused by Egypt's opposition of trying to wrest control of Egyptian state institutions in an attempt to impose single-party rule like its predecessor, ousted president Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party.

Leading Brotherhood figures deny such attempts and accuse Mubarak's "deep state" – loyalists permeating the state apparatus – of working against the aims of Egypt's 25 January revolution.

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