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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

MbS impresses talking heads, Ramadan released on bail,

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was the talk of the town yesterday after his roundtable with Egyptian media’s who’s-who, including our beloved talking heads.

That Egypt is “not selling land to Saudi Arabia” is something Kol Youm’s Amr Adib felt the need to clarify, as he proceeded to explain that Riyadh will simply funnel USD 10 bn in cash through its joint investment fund with Egypt to the development of 1,000 sq km in Sinai as part of its NEOM project (We have the full rundown in the Speed Round) (watch, runtime: 10:00).

MbS seems to have left quite the impression on Hona Al Asema’s Lamees Al Hadidi, who described him as “well-read” and “candid” in his answers to reporters’ questions (watch, runtime: 5:37). The Qatar rift, relations with Turkey, and Saudi Arabian politics were among the topics journalists floated, Al Shorouk Editor Emad el-Din Hussein said (watch, runtime: 6:58). Al Masry Al Youm Chairman Abdel Moneim El Said told Masaa DMC’s Eman El Hossary though that MbS shrugged off questions on Qatar (watch, runtime: 6:14).

The Saudi royal’s visit to the Abbasiya Cathedral marks the opening of “a new page in history,” Coptic Orthodox Church spokesperson Boules Halim told Lamees (watch, runtime: 4:00). He also told El Hossary that the visit conveys a message of “enlightenment” (watch, runtime: 2:28). Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif Amer agreed (watch, runtime: 2:43).

Khairy Ramadan released on bail: The talking heads were happy to learn that fellow host Khairy Ramadan was released on EGP 10,000 bail yesterday, pending investigations into charges of spreading false news and insulting the police. Al Hayah Al Youm’s Tamer Amin saw Ramadan’s release as the end of his dispute with the Interior Ministry, which leveled the case against him after a segment about low police wages (watch, runtime: 2:18).

Columnists join forces to defend Ramadan: His case damages the government’s image abroad and sends a wrong message of instability, Al Shorouk’s Emad El Din Hussein argued. While Hamdy Rizk and Mohamed Amin independently urged the Interior Ministry to forgive Ramadan’s “well-intentioned mistake” and drop the case.

Meanwhile, four Press Syndicate board members called for an urgent board meeting to discuss Ramadan’s arrest and the unconstitutional detention of other journalists.

Lamees called for the release of the two journalists arrested while filming a documentary about the Alex tramway, as she thanked the Interior Ministry and other officials for intervening to resolve Ramadan’s conundrum (watch, runtime: 4:06).

People are growing fearful of speaking their mind in public, Adib warned on Kol Youm. He said, though, that the issue does not warrant calls to protest (watch, runtime: 7:06).

The new life-insurance certificates for private-sector workers also received significant airtime, as various bank bosses provided updates on demand since the policies were launched earlier this week. Watch here (runtime: 7:00), here (runtime: 3:04), here (runtime: 3:50), and here (runtime: 1:32).

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