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  1. #1
    MrMean_'s Avatar
    MrMean_ is offline Quarantined Users
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    July 6, 2005
    Egypt's Press Acquiring Young Blood in Top Posts
    By HASSAN M. FATTAH
    CAIRO, July 5 - The newly appointed editors of Egypt's largest state-owned newspapers slipped into their posts and their corner offices on Tuesday, in one of the most significant shake-ups in Egypt's state-owned news media in decades.
    The new executives, most of them younger and ostensibly more reform minded, have taken the helm of such venerable newspapers as Al Ahram, Akhbar al Yom and Al Gumhuriya. Their appointment is widely regarded here as an attempt to temper growing frustration with the pace of reform in Egypt ahead of the election for president planned for September.
    "We've entered a new age, and you have to bring in people capable of responding to these new times," said Al Ahram's new chairman, Salah al-Ghamri, who welcomed well-wishers in his sprawling offices. "Now my priority is to ensure the stability of the institution."
    Almost all the editors jettisoned on Monday by the Shura Council, Egypt's upper house, which appoints the editors, were over the legal retirement age of 65 and were facing tough criticism from opposition figures for staying on; some even faced lawsuits for overstaying their tenure.
    "The choice was either issue a new law to extend our tenures or retire," said Muhammad Abdel Monem, who was forced to relinquish his post as editor of a government-owned weekly, Rose el Youssef. "It's an adjustment, not a reform, because nothing was corrupted. But you had to adjust to the changes and the laws on a new political stage."
    Some editors replaced on Monday had exceeded even the tenure of President Hosni Mubarak, who is completing his fourth six-year term.
    Ibrahim Nafie, 74, Al Ahram's chairman and editor in chief for almost a quarter century, was replaced as editor by Osama Saray, formerly editor of the weekly Al Ahram al Arabi, and as chairman by Salah al-Ghamri. Ali Ibrahim, editor in chief of Al Gumhuriya, was replaced by Sameer Rajab; and Ibrahim Seada, 68, who resigned as editor in chief of Akhbar al Yom last month, was replaced by Mumtaz al-Qut.
    "There have been significant changes here in recent years, and the institutions have grown dramatically," said Mr. Ghamri, Al Ahram's new chairman. "There are huge challenges facing the media, and these all need study and appropriate decisions to be dealt with."
    But commentators and opposition critics said the changes were largely cosmetic, an attempt to quell growing concern that the government may not intend to deliver on longstanding promises for change. The new editors are not likely to change course, the critics say, though they may jettison reporters and columnists seen as critical or disloyal to the government.
    "People are really desperate for change, so this is just another promise that things are changing," said Hussein Amin, professor of journalism and mass communications at the American University in Cairo. "The promise is in the faces, all of them middle-aged. The people who read newspapers, after all, are all in their 40's too."
    The shake-up followed the departure of Mr. Seada, who complained in his resignation letter of "official silence" in the face of growing calls in opposition newspapers for the editors' retirement and allegations that they have abused their positions by slanting the news to favor the government and Mr. Mubarak. The allegations of corruption created an "extremely dangerous" situation in the state-affiliated press, Mr. Seada wrote in a front-page editorial announcing his resignation.
    Editors at opposition-run newspapers dismissed the shake-up as an attempt to consolidate control of the media in a new generation of editors under Mr. Mubarak's son and heir apparent, Gamal.
    "Almost all the individuals chosen have two things in common: they are either close to the state-security agencies or they are members of the National Democratic Party's so-called policies committee, which is headed by Gamal Mubarak," said Abdel Halim Qundeel, spokesman for the Kifaya opposition movement and editor in chief of Al Arabi, an opposition-owned daily.
    Opposition figures acknowledge that there is no concrete proof of the young Mr. Mubarak's involvement in the decision. Nonetheless, they say, the timing of the shake-up provides at least some answers. "This means that we will soon face dual leadership in Egypt - a president in name only, and his son," Mr. Qundeel said.

  2. #2
    Theja is offline Registered User
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    Pharoah Mubarak!

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