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Ensuring a pan-Arabic platform for freedom of expression

Naser ShroufGuest commentary

Naser Shrouf, Head of Distribution for Africa / Middle East 

Political satire in Egypt can be a dangerous business but it is often through humor that people understand themselves better. With his news show Al Bernameg, Bassem Youssef uses comedy to provide a way for Egyptians to laugh at themselves during a very serious time for their country. The program also creates a window looking into Egyptian society and now with DW as a broadcasting partner that window will be opened to a much wider audience.

By adding Al Bernameg to the lineup we at DW are once again showing our commitment to promote and foster advocates of free speech and democracy through working closely with partners around the world. It is a sign of where we want to go as an organization – exploring diverse formats and connecting in new ways with local audiences.

For almost three years Egypt has been struggling to define itself. The function of a free press, that is so vital to this process, has also suffered. Non-traditional media has often filled the void. Al Bernameg, through making fun of political personages and social mores, provides an objective perspective that may look funny on the surface but is serious to the core.

After being taken off the air in November, Al Bernameg is now being broadcast each week, locally and on DW (Arabia). With DW, the show will be ensured an audience stretching from Morocco to Iraq. Freedom of speech and critique of the government are values essential to building modern societies. We think that programs like Al Bernameg are an important component of the media landscape in the Arab world – and we are committed to helping get the message across.

 

 

Date

2014-02-24 | 2:40

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The continuing struggle for media freedom in Egypt

At the height of the 2011 Egyptian revolution there was hope that Egypt would emerge with increased freedom for journalists. But as the wave receded, a reconstruction of the same oppression was all that was left behind. On November 29, DW-Akademie and ARD will be hosting an expert discussion at the ARD studios in Berlin to address the power struggle on the Nile that is affecting and polarizing the Egyptian media.

There is an acute problem for journalists in Egypt. The country ranks 158 out of 179 on the Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters without Borders. Egyptian journalists are under constant threat of arrest and imprisonment. In August 2013, Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian TV station was raided and shut down by security forces under the pretense of “posing a threat to national security” and “fabricating allegations and rumors”. After the 2013 coup d’état which effectively placed the military in control of the country, the Egyptian constitution was suspended and the situation for journalists has become progressively worse.

DW has always been a global advocate for democracy and freedom of the press. By increasing awareness it can give hope to journalists in oppressive countries who are suffering just for doing their jobs. Shedding light on these issues during the discussion will be Raniah Salloum, Mideast reporter for Spiegel Online, Jürgen Stryjak a Cairo correspondent for ARD and Mazen Hassan, Germany correspondent for the Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram. Moderating the panel will be Jaafar Abdul-Karim, host of Shababtalk, DW’s talk show for the Arab world.

Date

2013-11-25 | 1:17

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DW starts a new season of Arab Debates

DW has brought back The New Arab Debates – with Tim Sebastian for its viewers around the world. The first of six new episodes was broadcast yesterday on DW, DW (Europe) and DW (Arabia). For the first time, the show is also being produced in Arabic for its viewers in the Arab world.

Each episode will focus on current affairs from the Arab world, with two guests offering their opinions and perspectives. Veteran journalist and television host Tim Sebastian is back for the English version and Egyptian TV journalist Mai El Sherbiny will be hosting the Arabic version.

 

Date

2012-11-08 | 11:49

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Virtual meet and greet with DW hosts

MyDW has developed a new section that highlights the peope who are working behind the scenes and in front of the camera. The latest is a Q&A with Jaafar Abdul Karim, who is currently working on Shababtalk. One goal that he has for his work? To present the show inside the studio but to also incorporate his experiences from his foreign assignments and stays abroad into the show. As a reporter during the Arab spring Karim was always present on-site: in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

 

Date

2012-08-10 | 11:18

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DW at the Convergence Summit in Amman

DW will be presenting its wide-reaching changes and programming highlights for the Arab world  at the 9th Convergence Summit in Amman, Jordan on May 22 and 23. DW’s Social Media Manager Julia Hildebrand will be taking part in the conference that is organized by the Arab Advisors Group.

DW has increased its focus on regional programming and intercultural dialogue in the Middle East with a schedule that offers 10 hours of Arabic programming and a six-hour block during primetime. This new programming line-up is tailored to meet the needs of the region’s broadcasters with a renewed focus on local partner-ships.

The success of “Shababtalk” can already speak for itself. More than 3.6 million viewers were tuning in to each episode in the show’s first three weeks. And the coproduction with Egypt’s market leader Al Hayah has been registering a market share of nearly 15 percent. The talk show brings together young representatives from the democratic movement in Egypt with their German counterparts from youth organizations, political parties and other associations.

DW focused on dialogue again with “On the Pulse”. It’s a talk show that brings Arab and German experts together to discuss issues related to democratization, politics, economics, the role of the government, justice and reli-gion.

Date

2012-05-21 | 8:45

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