State media about to turn over new leaf, minister promises

Newly appointed Information Minister Salah Abdel Maqsoud has promised radical changes in state media.

The ministry will develop new media platforms that will give voice to all political leanings and a wide range of opinions, he claimed on in an interview on the state-owned Nile Culture TV channel on Thursday.

Maqsoud called on citizens not to attack state TV crews or describe them as leftovers from the former regime. Viewers should give Maspero a chance, he said, so that they can make positive changes in the near future.

The media will be at the service of the people and will reflect its will, Maqsoud promised.

The minister claimed that he came from Tahrir Square, and had attempted to pave the way for the revolution ever since he was a member of the Journalists Syndicate. He had participated in the revolution since the first day, he continued, adding that the people should let Maspero turn over a new leaf under his supervision.

"This building is back to you. This is the television of people and the radio of people, not the remnants of the former regime. We are your neutral media, as the state media is no longer affiliated with a businessman, a political party, a certain ideology or a particular political group,” Maqsoud continued.

He concluded by saying that he hoped to be the last minister of information, and intended to transform the Ministry of Information into a National Council for Media that would represent all Egyptians, and operate independently and without bias.

The country’s media was tightly controlled under former President Hosni Mubarak, with dissenting figures frequently intimidated or fired.

Since Mubarak was deposed last year following a popular uprising, some state media employees have expressed frustration at the top-down orders that sometimes limit their reporting. The institution by and large remained a mouthpiece of the government and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces throughout the interim period.

Edited translation from MENA

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