Q&A with Al-Dostour chairman

Reda Edward, the new chairman of Al-Dostour newspaper, officially notified the Journalists Syndicate yesterday of his refusal to return both former Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim Eissa and former executive Ibrahim Mansour to their positions. Journalists have repeatedly demanded their reinstatements.

In an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm, Edward said he will no longer negotiate with the Journalists Syndicate, unless the syndicate accepts his own demands. Below is the interview in full.

Al-Masry Al-Youm: Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, the Wafd Party's secretary-general, has challenged you to run for his position. What do you think?

Edward: If I nominate myself for elections, I’ll beat him. He knows this quite well.

Al-Masry: What’s your evidence of this?

Edward: I have told him before that Sayyed al-Badawi will sweep to victory as the party chief, and it happened then.

Al-Masry: How can you beat Abdel Nour if he’s the current secretary-general?

Edward: Because whoever’s in his shoes should be a good example of a clever politican–which is not personified by Abdel Nour.

Al-Masry: What do you mean?

Edward: The biggest evidence that proves he doesn’t have the spirit of national unity, is his problem with Soad Saleh [a leading female scholar of Islam], a lady who respects all religions.

Al-Masry: Abdel Nour asked "Who is Reda Edward?" What do you think this means?

Edward: He knows me pretty well, and knows what I did to him during the last elections for party chairman.

Al-Masry: What did you do to him?

Edward: I revealed that he’s of low popularity in the governorates.

Al-Masry: Do you blame Abdel Nour for Mahmoud Abaza’s defeat as party chairman?

Edward: Well, he is the main reason.

Al-Masry: Do you have the intention to stand for the secretary-general position?

Edward: Not at all. I've said it before: I won’t stand for this position.

Al-Masry: Why not?

Edward: I have my own business that takes up most of my time.

Al-Masry: Why did you buy Al-Dostour newspaper?

Edward: I’m a politician and the member of a supreme authority at Wafd party. Moreover, I love journalism.

Al-Masry Al-Youm: You’re basically a businessman?

Edward: Yes. The Al-Dostour deal was a good buy, because it’s mainly an economic project which will succeed 100 percent. If it’s well-managed, its annual profits will increase by LE50 million. For this reason I bought it.

Al-Masry: And what has happened with the paper crisis so far?

Edward: It’s about to end. I agreed on most of the journalists’ requests, except their demand regarding the formation of the board of directors.

Al-Masry: And why did you refuse it?

Edward: Because reporters don’t have the right to intervene in such a matter.

Al-Masry: Have you refused any other terms?

Edward: I insisted that Ibrahim Eissa and Ibrahim Mansour do not return, which was one of the nine requests.

Al-Masry: What happened after the agreement?

Edward: 40 journalists returned to work. I am calling on the rest of the journalists to return and I am promising them a new start.

Al-Masry: How are you dealing with the Journalism Supreme Council's notification regarding the illegality of a newspaper being issued without a chief editor or executive chief editor?

Edward: I officially notified Galal Doweidar, the council's secretary-general, that Ayman Sharaf is the executive chief editor.

Al-Masry: And when will a new chief editor be chosen?

Edward: In seven days. I’m currently negotiating with prominent reporters for the position.

Al-Masry: How do you respond to those who are saying there’s a political bargain beyond buying the newspaper?

Edward: I refuse this transformation of the crisis into a political matter, especially by the Journalists Syndicate, the National Association for Change, the Kefaya movement and others. I’m against the case being politicized.

Al-Masry: Have you ever thought about standing for parliamentary elections?

Edward: No I haven't. I was offered to be appointed to the Shura Council but I refused because I have demands that relate to the amendment of the Constitution.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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