Media figures plan subscription-based satellite channel

A group of independent Egyptian media workers is planning to launch the first ever satellite channel to be established through popular subscriptions, in a bid to ensure free media coverage of what they see as "repressive policies.”

In September, Rose al-Youssef and Sawt al-Umma newspapers were forced to make editorial changes to two of their stories after intervention by unidentified parties.

In October, social network users circulated reports about directives from the General Authority for Investment ordering satellite channels to avoid criticizing the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

The Free Media Workers group said on its Facebook page on Tuesday that individuals involved with the channel held a meeting on Monday to discuss its establishment.

The group, which has several workers at the state-run Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU), advocates a comprehensive overhaul of the media.

The statement said the meeting was also attended by journalists Bilal Fadl, Asaad Taha, Yousry Fouda, Yasser al-Zayyat and Hussein Abdel Ghany, in addition to Gamal Eid, an activist and the head of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information. The group added that those attending agreed on the guidelines for the formation of a working team.

The media figures behind the proposed channel are expected to hold a press conference at Rawabet Theater in downtown Cairo on Thursday to clarify their plans.

The group's Facebook statement added that Taha wants to establish the channel through popular subscriptions so that it will be owned by the people, noting that the idea appeals to both activists and media professionals.

The group called for a march on Friday to protest against infringements of media freedom. The march will start at the Journalists Syndicate and end at Tahrir Square, where subscriptions for the channel’s establishment will be collected.

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