Former state TV anchor Azza El-Hennawy condemned on Tuesday the decision to dismiss her from her position after critical comments she made about the president.
The decision was taken on Thursday by the chairman of the board of trustees of the Egyptian Radio and Telivision Union (ERTU), Essam Al-Amir, after she criticised President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi performance’s since he took office.
The TV anchor was investigated by the ERTU’s Central Legal Affairs Department for six hours on Thursday. She attended the investigation with nine lawyers from the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and other organisations.
El-Hennawy told Daily News Egypt she was dismissed for “lacking neutrality” and “distorting the presidential image in front of the general public”, which ”led to feelings of public disappointment”.
During the investigations, the TV anchor demanded to review the committee report and asked for a copy – however, the investigator only conceded to the first request.
Regarding the accusation that she disrespected the media charter, which was a top priority in Al-Sisi’s political roadmap, El-Hennawy said she told the investigator: “How can you tell me to apply the media charter when it is still not applied to the medium itself?”
Despite having been submitted to the government weeks ago amid mounting calls, a unified press and media law is yet to be issued, El-Hennawy said.
El-Hennawy was suspended after she dedicated the last two minutes of her show, presented with journalist Osama Shehata and broadcast on Al-Qahera channel, to direct a message to Al-Sisi, in which she criticised his overall performance with regards to improving and developing the country since he took the presidency.
Al-Amir ordered her suspension, accusing her of lack of objectivity and professionalism, after he formed a committee to recommend the best outcome following her “inflammatory remarks”.
Following her critical comments, she came under fire from fellow TV anchors and celebrities. Two reports were filed to the prosecutor-general accusing her of incitement. The prosecutor-general referred the report filed against her to the Supreme State Security Prosecution.
This is not the first time she has faced the ire of the authorities; in November 2015, El-Hennawy was suspended from Al-Qahera channel due to her criticism of the official response to the flooding in Alexandria; she returned to work a month later.