Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Egypt’s ON TV receives kidnap threats from Jihadist Group

Bikya Masr

"Egypt’s liberal satellite channel ON TV received a threatening letter from an unknown group calling itself “The Jihadist Group to Cleanse the Country” warning they would kidnap some of the news presenters and inflict harm on companies that advertise with channel, if the channel “does not change its media policies.”

The group threatened to kidnap popular program hosts Reem Maged and Yousri Fouda and ask for 20 million Egypt pound ransom ($3.2 million), in addition to destroying the channel’s facilities and studios.

Albert Shafik, head of ON TV, filed a police report, presenting a copy of the letter to the Giza police department.

“You have crossed all red lines and you are pushing the country to chaos, implementing an American Zionist agenda,” the letter began.

We will not turn to the government or the law, they are the means of the weak and the position that you spread through Maged. [They] will not affect our great nation,” the letter continued.

“We command you to stop immediately or else we will force you to donate 10 million pounds to charity or the Naguib Sawiris companies and ON TV studios will be destroyed,” the group added.
We would kidnap your talk show hosts and ask for a 20 million pound ransom they would be assassinated. This is also a word of warning to the advertisement companies that deal with you, if they don’t not stop, we will inflict great harm upon them, so we advise you to immediately halt your destructive policies and if you do not, we will start and if we do, we will not stop,” the letter added.

However, commentators on the news mocked the letter, saying it is an attempt of the old regime to intimidate liberal voices, while others accused the military council of being behind the threats.

The channel openly supports the human rights community and dose not hesitate to expose rights violations, with activists and rights advocates as regular guests.

The channel and especially Fouda, were put under pressure for their choice of guests and topics, most recently when Fouda’s program Akher Kalam, or the “Last Words,” was taken off the air for a day for inviting opposition novelist Alaa al-Aswany as a guest.

As a response Fouda protested by staying off air for a few weeks, but returned under public pressure."

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