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ONTV (Egypt)

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Title: ONTV (Egypt)  
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Subject: Bassem Youssef, International news channels, Liberalism in Egypt, Egyptian presidential debate, 2012, Television in Egypt
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ONTV (Egypt)

Type Satellite television network
Availability Egypt
Headquarters Cairo, Egypt
Key people
Tarak Ben Ammar, Yosri Fouda, Reem Maged
Launch date
Official website

It's owned by Prima TV company, Tarak Ben Ammar, the Arabic-language ONTV network has adopted a politically liberal stance and, in addition to its popular Ramadan serials, hosts two of the most-watched talk shows in Egypt.[1] The station positions itself on its website as the only politically independent Egyptian television station.[2]

Sister Networks

In September 2011, Hawa Ltd. launched OnTvLive, a 24-hour news network with a yearly budget of $3 million. ONTV and ONTVLive share the same editorial staff and employs approximately 30 journalists scattered throughout Egypt. ONTVLive has attempted to orient itself as more pan-Arab than its predecessor ONTV, employing presenters from other Arab nations, stationing correspondents in Sudan and Libya, and applying to the government of Qatar for the accreditation of an OnTvLive journalist to be stationed in Doha.[1]

In 2011, Hawa Ltd. also launched ONTVRamadan, a temporary channel that aired during the month of Ramadan and broadcast soap operas and "big budget drama."[1]


Al Bernameg

Hosted by Bassem Youssef, Al Bernameg is a satirical news program that has been compared to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.[3][4] whose satire program The Daily Show inspired Youssef to begin his career.[5] Youssef is an Egyptian heart surgeon who began independently producing his satirical news program and distributing it online during the 2011 Egyptian revolution before he was hired to produce and host the show for ONTV.

Baladna bel Masry

Baladna bel Masry is a prime time news talk show hosted by Egyptian journalist Reem Maged. ONTV bills the show as reflecting "all the cultural & entertainment affairs that occur in Egypt," while at the same time offering in-depth analysis on events that accurately represents public views on current affairs.[6] Interviews conducted by Maged on Baladna bel Masry have sparked controversy in Egypt, and at one point led to her being summoned for questioning by military authorities.[7]

Ahmed Shafik Interview and Resignation

On Wednesday, March 2, 2011, ONTV announced on its website that Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, who had been appointed by ousted president Hosni Mubarak before his resignation, would be joined by ONTV financier Naguib Sawiris and Kamel Abu El-Maged on talkshow host Reem Maged's program, Baladna bel Masry. This discussion was to be followed by Yosri Fouda's hosting of novelist Alaa Al Aswany, author of The Yacoubian Building, and veteran journalist Hamdy Kandeel on the program Akher Kilam.[8] The first two hours of the broadcast featured Shafik responding to softball questions by Sawiris as he defended the Egyptian government and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' handling of the post-revolution transition. Shafik agreed to stay on after midnight, however, to join the discussion with Al Aswany and Kandeel. Al Aswany was highly critical of Shafik over the remaining two hours in the broadcast, and Shafik became clearly irritated. At one point, Al Aswany accused Shafik, saying "[i]f your son had been one of those who got run over by the police cars, you would not have remained silent like that." [9] Shafik attempted to defend his previously-publicized plan to turn Tahrir Square into an Egyptian version of London's Hyde Park, where protesters could gather to make speeches. Al Aswany responded, accusing him of "ignoring the more than 300 people who died in the protests and wanting to give out 'sweets and chocolate.'" The Wall Street Journal wrote that Shafik retorted, "'wanting the people to stay in a clean place is wrong?' ... 'We should find out who killed them first,' answered Mr. Aswany."[10] Al Aswany furthermore accused Shafik of being a holdover of the regime that Egyptians had struggled to topple, and that he was unfit to represent Egyptians in the post-revolution era.[8]

The episode led to Shafik's announcement of his resignation as Egyptian Prime minister the next day. His poor performance and the vocal reaction to his responses, as well as the response to Al Aswany's fierce questioning of him, allegedly "helped push Egypt's military rulers into acceding to protester demands and pushing out Mr. Shafiq.".[10] Importantly, the episode was argued to be "the first real political debate between a prime minister and opposition figures in Egypt,",[11] as interviews of government figures under the Mubarak regime generally involved sets of prepared questions and would never be so contentious. The interview has been called "the episode that toppled an Egyptian cabinet.[8] The Los Angeles Times dubbed the interview "the TV talk show that played the biggest part in speeding up his imminent resignation."[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "The Egyptian Naguib Sawiris launches a competing channel Al-Jazeera". Technology Data. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "معلومات عنا". Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  3. ^ El-Wakil, Mai (April 21, 2011). "Drawing inspiration from the revolution". Al Masry Al Youm. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Hassan, Abdalla (April 28, 2011). "Surgeon Using Parody to Dissect the News in Egypt". New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Salma Shukrallah (31 May 2011). "Hamalawy and Maged not questioned but asked to provide evidence of military police violations". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c El-Saeed, Youmna (9 March 2011). "The Episode That Toppled an Egyptian Cabinet". Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "In Egypt, Television Confronts State; TV Wins". Connected in Cairo. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Luhnow, David (5 March 2011). "Egypt PM Undone by TV Debate". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Unforgettable night in the Arab TV history". Egyptian Chronicles. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "EGYPT: TV showdown imperils former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik". The Los Angeles Times. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 

External links

  • Official ONtv website
  • ONtv Live website
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