Egypt’s General Intelligence Service has earned around five billion Egyptian pounds (about $2.9 billion) from a recent consulting deal signed between the government and the Egyptian Media Group.
Well-informed sources at the country’s official Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) – also known as Maspero – reported the huge profits yesterday, telling the New Khaleej that the deal, which was signed late last month, was a “direct order by the Egyptian presidency in favour of the intelligence directorate, which owns the [Egyptian Media] group”.
Under the five-year agreement, the sources explained, Egyptian Media Group would implement plans to oversee 23 television stations and 76 radio stations, some of which would be merged and others which would be cancelled.
The state-owned National Media Authority (NMA) was also reported to have been discreet about the relationship between the group and state intelligence.
As part of the deal, the sources pointed out, there were “intentions” to cut the ERTU’s 35,000 employees to 29,000. “The two signatories agreed to establish a new “Arab Family” satellite channel addressing the Arabic region’s developments, and a partnership in advertising rights and rights to broadcast football matches,” the sources noted.
Concerns have arisen following over the group’s “possible control” over ERTU’s archives, which include rare and valuable content.
Egyptian Media Group is controlled by Eagal Capital, which is being run by the former investment minister Dalia Khorshid, who is married to the governor of Egypt’s Central Bank. In recent years, state authorities have been controlling and blocking the majority of the country’s satellite channels, advertising agencies, newspapers and social media sites, fearing another revolution over the continuous arrests and court charges against rights and political activists.