CAIRO: Popular talk show host Amr Adib said that his show will be back on the air soon, quelling concerns that Orbit’s studios were shut down for political reasons ahead of the parliamentary elections.
“It is only a matter of time until I’m back on the air,” Adib told primetime TV show “48 Hours,” adding that a solution is underway. “There is no need to worry about the show being off the air for long.”
It has been three weeks since Media Production City shut down the studios of Orbit Satellite Television network due to the network’s failure to meet all of its financial obligations, bringing all live broadcasts to a halt.
Adib said that he wants everyone to stop overanalyzing what happened, adding that “the freedom ceiling in Egypt still has room for him.”
When Orbit’s studios were shut down, many interpreted the move as a political one targeting the popular and critical TV show “Al-Qahera Al-Youm” hosted by Adib.
Given that parliamentary elections are approaching, and that Adib is especially known for openly criticizing prominent figures in Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (such as steel mogul and NDP leader Ahmed Ezz), the recent problems raised a lot of questions.
“We are on the verge of an extremely important period in Egyptian politics which I want to take part in,” Adib said.
He also pointed out that Orbit is a Saudi network whose owners have no political affiliations and so no one can interfere with his show’s content.
On the other hand, one of “Al-Qahera Al-Youm’s” crew members said that they don’t know when the show will be back on the air.
“When the show was first stopped on Saturday Sept. 18, the next day we went out as usual to shoot some packages and prepare the show for Sunday night, only to get a call from the administration saying that the Media Production City has cancelled its contract with Orbit,” said the crew member who didn’t want their name published because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
“I honestly have no idea when the show will be aired again,” the source added.
Meanwhile news reports have repeatedly suggested that Adib will soon terminate his contract with Orbit and go to El-Hayat Channel, an Egyptian satellite channel. However, Adib said that he cannot comment on the issue due to an agreement with Orbit’s administration.
Stopping Adib’s show, followed by firing Ibrahim Eissa from his post as editor-in-chief of the independent daily Al-Dostor as well as banning sports commentator Alaa Sadek from hosting shows on state-run terrestrial TV for criticizing the Ministry of Interior on his show, was enough to get rights activists’ attention, who decried the crackdown on the media.
“We are extremely concerned; no way this is a coincidence to stop Amr Adib and Ibrahim Eissa and it got to the point of even a sports commentator. These are all negative indicators of the upcoming period,” said head of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Hossam Bahgat.
“The one thing that survived from the relative openness in 2004 and 2006 was media freedom which is being [taken] back now by the government. It is an indication of how worse things are to become in the upcoming period,” he added.