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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Tarek Nour ridicules notion of Ikhwan connection, says state intervention in economy should be temporary

Advertising and media mogul Tarek Nour gave Al Masry Al Youm a wide-ranging interview yesterday. Nour said claims he has partnered with Ikhwan members are simply ”dumb.” Overall, he says, there is a sense that the state wants the media to “calm things down” a bit. Nour said he did not force firebrand journalist Ibrahim Eissa to quit his show on Al Kahera Wal Nas. He also said no one threatened him that his nearly three-decade-old Le Marché furniture exhibition would be cancelled if he didn’t fire Eissa. Instead, Eissa was the one who opted to resign from the channel willingly to focus on personal projects after Ramadan 2016.

Nour says he is not bothered by state-owned media or the ownership of media by entities affiliated with the state. He says TV channels had asked the state to support them financially as they were on the verge of financial collapse. This does not bother him, he says, and cites the examples of MBC and Al Jazeera as successful examples, caveating this with the need for there to be space for dissent and opposition

On the economy, Nour says he hopes the state’s expansion into business sectors like cement and fertilizers is temporary and to support economic growth. Otherwise, despite it being a critical intervention currently, if it is a more long term presence, he sees investors withdrawing from the market because “no one can compete with the state.” Nour also praised Investment and International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr and believes the Investment Act is a positive development. He also thinks the national mega projects drive is a positive investment that will yield rewarding results in the future, but was poorly marketed. Nour believes that state television in the form of the “Maspero” complex needs to be restructured, downsized, and moved out to the Media Production City. Nour also endorsed the notion of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi bidding for reelection.

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