“You say the Armed forces are trying to teach people democracy; this is part of the democracy you speak of, and the Egyptian people know what democracy is and how’s practiced, General”.
Television presenter Dina Abdul Rahman was responding, calm, poised, to the ranting of self-appointed “strategic expert” General Abdul Moneim Qato, who was bashing journalist Naglaa Bedir for an article criticizing the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Dina Abdul Rahman had been discussing Bedir’s article in her show.
This interview came at the heels of a televised phone interview conducted by Abdel Rahman with SCAF member General Hassan El Roweiny, in which he blatantly admitted (boasted, even) that he regularly spread rumours during the revolution, adding “I know how powerful rumours can be”…
Abdul Rahman didn’t ambush him — she just let him speak. He fell in his own trap.
That was seemingly too much. The next day, Dina Abdul Rahman was sacked from her position as the iconic host of the “Dream Morning Show” on privately-owned television channel “Dream TV”.
The reaction, it seemed, was as loud as it was brief. On her fresh Twitter account, Abdul Rahman originally refused to say whether she was sacked or had resigned, before letting it emerge that she had indeed been fired. A number of bloggers and columnists lamented her dismissal. Columnist and fellow Dream TV presenter Belal Fadl quit in solidarity.
The matter died out soon enough though.
The longer-term repercussions hard to quantify. Daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm points out that this event raises the fear of self-censorship among journalists, and all-too-familiar practice under the Mubarak regime when his trusted “State Security” (Amn-El-Dawla) officers gave themselves the right to interfere in editorial decisions. It was a phenomenon many had hoped — and indeed, had believed — was behind us after the 25 January revolution, but is today returning to the scene. Only the actors are different — instead of the State Security, it’s the army that is putting the pressure on the media.
As for Dina Abdul Rahman, she is reportedly being courted by both OTV and Tahrir TV networks.