The Shura Council’s general committee has appointed new heads for the country’s state-owned newspapers. The Islamist-dominated assembly appointed current head of the Press Syndicate Mamdouh Al-Waali as head of Al-Ahram and Ahmed Sameh Saadallah the head of the board of Al-Akhbar Al-Youm.
Shaker Gamal Eddin, who was already appointed editor-in-chief of the MENA last month, was also appointed as its head on Tuesday.
Other appointments included Al-Ahram journalist Yehya Zakareya Ghanem to Dar Al-Helal, Mostafa Ahmed Hedib to Dar Al-Tahrir, Mohamed Gamal Eddin to Rose Al-Youssef, and Mohamed Kamal Eddin to Dar Al-Maaref. Al-Sayyed Abdel Fattah was appointed head of distribution.
Yehya Ghanem is a journalist for Al-Ahram and a member of the non-governmental organization International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), and is currently standing trial in the high-profile case accusing Egyptians and foreigners of receiving illegal foreign finding. The trial is set to resume on 9 September.
The appointments come a month after the new editors-in-chief of the same newspapers were announced. Last month’s appointments were met with much controversy, especially among other journalists and liberals, who accused the Shura Council, largely filled with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist waves, of using their power to manipulate state media. Following last month’s appointments, many columnists in independent newspapers left the spaces for their columns blank in protest of the perceived smothering of Egypt’s media.
Freedom of the press has been under discussion in the past month, as independent newspaper Al-Dostour’s editor-in-chief stands trial for insulting President Mohamed Morsy. In a separate case, television personality and owner of popular channel Al-Fara’een Tawfik Okasha is on trial for calling for the killing of the president and the toppling of the government. Al-Fara’een has been shut down for six weeks following a court order.