CAIRO: A new internet broadcast called “Horytna or “Our Freedom ran by 20 young people began transmission in Cairo less than one month ago under the banner “We chase the truth . Blog on Air .
“This is the first youth internet radio station, but it won’t be the last. Everyone can start a station and we will start to hear each other. I want us all to enjoy our freedom, 28-year-old Horytna President Ahmed Samih told The Daily Star Egypt.
All of us are young, Samih is the eldest, said Mohsen Semika, a reporter at the opposition Wafd newspaper and one of the radio station staff. We want to express our opinions freely; the Arab media do not give much space to youth, Semika criticized.
Radmis Hany, who is in charge of public relations, said that all of the staff are either new graduates or students at the faculties of mass communication in Egypt. Some of us are volunteers, others are permanent staff, but we are scattered all over Egypt, even in Sohag, explained Hany, a sophomore student at the Faculty of Mass Communication, the Modern Science and Arts University. “We also get feedback from everywhere, from Austria for example and we change our programming and music accordingly, he added.
When they first launched their service, one of their announcements in a party attended by hundreds of young people at the Goethe Institute Centre, was that they would interview pop singer Tamer Hosni. Currently featuring on their web site (www.horytna.net) is a story on reports that Gamal Mubarak, the 39-year-old son of President Mubarak and chairman of the party s influential Policy Secretariat, may start his own new party named “Future or “Mostakbal . Other stories include the latest on the bird flu cases in Egypt and a campaign organized by civil society to defend freedom of expression.
The project funded by Collin Powell’s initiative to revamp Arab media cost no more than LE 100,000, said Samih. Some of the staff members were trained in the United States, others were trained here by a reporter working with the British Broadcasting Corporation office in Cairo, he added. The training and funding were part of the Idweg and Media Development projects.
On how Samih himself started his career in media, he said that he worked at first at Wafdist “Bedaya youth magazine, then he worked in non-governmental and civil society organizations.
One of the broadcast partners is the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information.
Asked if being funded by US projects meant that the broadcast would not criticize American policies in the Middle East, Samih answered “Let’s focus on Egypt first, but of course [we would criticize the US]. That wouldn’t have an impact on us .