ERTU officials deny plans to delete Mubarak footage from archives

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By Hanan Solayman

CAIRO: Officials at the Egyptian Radio & Television Union (ERTU) denied reports claiming that a decision was issued to delete any footage of former president Hosni Mubarak from the archives.

Reports attributed the decision to Nihal Kamal, head of state TV, who is said to have allocated LE 5 million to editing and deleting all footage of Mubarak and his family whether in parties, project launch events or movies.

Sami El-Sherif, ERTU chairman, said the news was “false.”

“A TV archive cannot be edited because it’s part of the nation’s heritage and history. There is no decision whatsoever in this regard, these are just rumors,” El-Sherif told Daily News Egypt.

TV News Sector Chairman Ibrahim El-Sayyad also denied the news. “The TV library is part of Egypt’s history and is considered part of national security. We cannot delete history,” he said.

All tapes produced during Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-tenure are safe and not edited, he added.

“The union doesn’t have enough money at the moment to fund such editing processes,” El-Sayyad told DNE.

Yet, the post-revolution media should be monitored, El-Sayyad explained.

“We cannot broadcast any material that shows Mubarak nowadays be it a song or movie or even a video he appears in to launch a project. Every stage has its own [regulations],” he said.

According to El-Sayyad, the principles of the January 25 Revolution shape state TV’s discourse when it comes to news, drama or politics.

In 1952, many tapes were damaged after deleting scenes of King Farouk and Mohamed Ali’s families. ERTU officials say this crime will not be repeated.

Farouk Shousha, poet and member of ERTU’s board of trustees, said he was unaware of any such decisions. “The board did not meet [since the outbreak of the January 25 Revolution],” he added.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf appointed the new board earlier this month.

Historically, not only King Farouk and Mohamed Ali’s related material were deleted in Nasser’s era but so was footage of late President Mohamed Naguib, the oft-overlooked first president of the republic following the 1952 military coup.

“It’s what pharaohs do to each other, the new pharaoh deletes the name of his predecessor and removes his name from the temple’s pillars,” Salah Eissa, a historian, said.

During Nasser’s rule, censors never allowed the name of former Prime Minister Mostafa El-Nahhas to be published in newspapers, Eissa noted. Sadat, he added, also banned all national songs that refer to Nasser on the radio along with removing his name from university halls.

Eissa cited the movie “Gharam wa Intiqam,” produced in 1944, that included a whole operetta written by Ahmed Ramy and sung by Asmahan about the role of Mohamed Ali’s family in building modern Egypt. The operetta was completely omitted from the film, he said.

“This material can be put on the shelf for the time being due to current events but never deleted completely … it’s history. Can you delete history?” Eissa said.



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