Qatari investment looming

Maspero workers protest sale

GMT 22:14 2013 Thursday ,28 February

Arab Today, arab today Maspero workers protest sale

Qatari investors plan to move state broadcasting to Media Production City
Cairo – Khaled Hassanein

Qatari investors plan to move state broadcasting to Media Production City Cairo – Khaled Hassanein Workers at Egypt’s iconic Maspero broadcasting house have reacted angrily to an exclusive report by Arabstoday revealing the building would be sold off to Qatari investors. Maspero workers have protested the move, hoping to exert sufficient pressure on what they term a “shady deal.” Members of a new Broadcasters’ Union plan to form a “united front” against the sale, with some workers claiming they will even “remove the Communications Minister from the building.” “Maspero belongs to the public, not the Muslim Brotherhood,” one employee told Arabstoday on Wednesday. Presenter Hala Fahmi, known as a dissenting voice against Egypt’s media establishment, claimed the government was “acting on orders from the Muslim Brotherhood.” Khaled el-Sobky, founder of the Free Broadcasters group, said developments had to be “dealt with quickly” so that workers “don’t wake up and find the building has fallen into new hands.” News editor Yasser Taha suggested renting the Maspero building to free up debts reaching up to 20bn EGP. “I think some floors or studios could be rented out for revenue, and we could also make use of some of the great facilities at the Media Production City." "But the building must remain under state ownership, because it's a symbol of Egyptian media," he said. Reports that pro-Brotherhood Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera planned to rent offices and studios at Maspero has prompted further anger. The Communications Ministry, lead by Salah Abdel Maksoud, has refused to confirm or deny reports surrounding the Al Jazeera deal.

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