Maspero nearly LE20 bn in debt, says State TV official

Maspero nearly LE20 bn in debt, says State TV official

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Mon, 18/02/2013 - 15:36

The Radio and Television Union is nearly LE20 billion in debt, according to the head of the news department, Ibrahim al-Sayyad.

Information Minister Salah Abdel Maqsoud had previously announced the debt figure was LE19 billion.

Sayyad emphasized that state TV is a valuable source of employment for many people, particularly given the current economy.

Sayyad said that the news section is nearly US$1.2 million in debt to the Associated Press, and that the American wire service had temporarily stopped dealing with Egyptian television. The AP service was resumed after Egyptian Television paid a portion of the debt.

He also said he had inherited other debts from the former head of the news section, including a debt of 80,000 British pounds that was spent on a training for young journalists to work at Nile News. But, according to Sayyad, the journalists left to work at private channels after the training.

The financial department is considering opening Nile News Channel for advertisements to cover the LE187 million price tag of establishing its studio, LE100 million of which has been paid off.

He added that the channel's Studio 5 was opened in consultation Egyptian experts, after the German company that brought the equipment “ran away from the building,” rather than working with Maspero.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm