Mahmoud Saad quits state-TV over Shafiq interview

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CAIRO: Popular television presenter Mahmoud Saad said he resigned from the talk show “Masr Enaharda” (Egypt Today), on terrestrial state-TV on Saturday.

In a phone call “Ashera Masa’an” on Dream TV later that night, Saad said he was ordered to change his scheduled line up of interviews to make room for a one-on-one with Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq instead.

Saad said on that day he was supposed to interview Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh; head of the Democratic Front Party Osama Ghazali Harb, and members of the Jan. 25 Coalition.

“I appreciate Ahmed Shafiq as a person but I disagree with his position as the head of the cabinet and refuse to acknowledge it, in accordance with young people of the revolution,” he said.

A rerun of “Masr Enharda” was aired on Saturday night instead of the planned episode, because, as Saad explained, the other hosts of the show weren’t in town.

Minutes after Saad’s phone-in, Shafiq also called in to the show and told a different story, saying he was invited to speak on the show but had to postpone due to a scheduling conflict, adding that he did not “impose himself on Saad at all.”

Shafiq implied that the actual reason behind Saad’s resignation is a proposed salary cut from LE 9 million to LE 1.5 million, of which he was notified right before the show on Saturday.

“What Saad said in his phone call is completely incorrect,” the prime minister said.

Saad also said that he was informed by the show’s management that the interview with Aboul Fotouh should be pre-recorded.

“I am fed up with the constant interference in the media, this was acceptable before the revolution but its unacceptable now,” he stated.

Saad went on an open leave of absence starting Jan. 26 after refusing to report false information about the number of protesters and their political affiliation as dictated by the government. He came back on the air a day after former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down.

By resigning, Saad has terminated his contract which was scheduled to end in November.

He did not give any information regarding his future plans but said that he refused to work for state television again.

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