The withdrawal of UAE funds changes the media map in Egypt‏

During the past six years, between 2013 and 2019, the media map in Egypt has changed more than once, especially with the flow and withdrawal of Emirati funding for a number of Egyptian media projects.

The latest indicators the media map is changing in Egypt is the closure of the TEN Satellite Channel, scheduled for the end of December, as a result of the gradual withdrawal of Emirati funding from the media in Egypt.

TEN Channel’s administration announced in its statement that broadcasts will be discontinued at the end of December 2019 for advertising and financial reasons.

The channel said that this decision comes from the channel’s keenness to fulfill its financial obligations towards its employees and operational contracts, and in anticipation of any financial difficulties that the channel may face in the future.

TEN was established in the aftermath of the January 25 revolution under a different name but it was sold more than once, until it appeared as TEN in March 2015.

At the time, the channel was owned by Promo Media, which was owned by businessman Naguib Sawiris, who acquired the controlling stake in the channel.

After a year and several months, in August 2016, the channel was sold again to a Gulf investor, in a deal whose details have not been announced. News reports revealed that the channel belongs to Emirati investors.

This was in light of the increasing trend of Emirati officials to pump nearly one billion dollars into the Egyptian media since the beginning of 2013, in the context of controlling the media scene in Egypt in the wake of the events of June 30, 2013.

Writer and journalist Wael Abdel-Fattah wrote that investing a billion dollars comes in the framework of agreements with old channels and the emergence of new media websites and channels.

But soon Emirati investors began to withdraw, at that time starting with the UAE-sponsored dotmsr, which suffered from a lack of funding, which led to the dismissal of 75 journalists in 2016.

Dotmsr was known for being the top site for paying good salaries to its editors. The administration said the reason was a cut to funding, according to press statements.

However, in June 2017, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, announced the agreement to combat the financing of terrorism and fight media platforms loyal to it.

According to press reports, the Emirati decision to withdraw from the Egyptian media, which culminated in the closure of TEN, was to pressure the Egyptian regime because of its insistence on directing advertisers to broadcast their ads exclusively on state TV or its affiliate screens in any way.

However, observers say that the Egyptian regime did not do this, but the channels are taking heavy losses because of the small number of viewers, and Egyptians lack of confidence in the speeches broadcast on media channels loyal to the regime.

As a result of fluctuating Emirati funding, the media map has changed more than once. Satellite channels are monopolised by companies known for having relations with the army.

In May 2016, Naguib Sawiris sold the network to the Egyptians Media Company, which was owned by the businessman Ahmed Abu Hashima. Media reports said that this company is secretly owned by the Egyptian intelligence.

In late May 2016, the An-Nahar and CBC channels merged, and as a result, the Extra and An-Nahar Today channels were combined to launch a news channel called Extra Today.

At the end of the same year, the United Printing, Publishing and Information Technology Company announced a partnership with the partners in (CBC and Al-Nahar) and acquired the controlling share by EGP one billion and EGP 100 million.

In April 2017, the merger failed, so the management separation was announced, with continued cooperation regarding the sale of advertising paragraphs and the purchase of content, and Extra Today became Extra News, and became a subsidiary of CBC.

Subsequently, United Company purchased the property of Al-Nahar channels and the controlling stake in CBC channels, and in December 2017, Eagle Capital, which is directly owned by the intelligence, announced its success in acquiring Egyptians Media, in a deal estimated at EGP 6.8 billion.

On July 5, 2018, the Egyptians Media firm announced its acquisition of the Al-Hayat Channels Network. Tamer Morsi said at the time that the Egyptian media would inject new content with great production capacity so that Al-Hayat’s channels would return to their former era in the forefront of Egyptian channels.

In February 2018, Dalia Khorshid, chairman of the Egyptian Intelligence-owned Eagle Capital, the fund that owns the Egyptians Media Group, announced the acceptance of the resignation of Engineer Osama al-Sheikh from the chairmanship of the group’s board of directors, and the appointment of Tamer Morsi, as a Chairman and Managing Director.

The Egyptians Media Group announced last April the acquisition of DM Media Group, which owns DMC channels, and that Tamer Morsi was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company.

Tamer Morsi said in a statement that he has now begun work to restructure the satellite channels in the group in order to advance the media’s message and chart a better future in light of the president’s demand that the media play the required role in the development of the state.

In this way, the United Company will completely tighten its control over the media, drama and advertising market, as it includes the United Company that owns the Egyptians Media Group ON and Al-Hayat and which has the controlling stake in CBC channels.

The Egyptians Media Group includes the Youm7 newspaper and its affiliated sites, the Dotmsr website and the Dotmsr TV website, the Voice of the Nation website, the site Celebrity Eye, Egypt Today magazine and Business Today magazine.

The Media Group of Egyptians owns Presentation Sports companies, Misr Cinema Company, Synergy Production, and Synergy Advertising, iFly, POD company specialising in public relations, Hashtag company specialised in social media, Speed company specialised in design, graphics, and digital marketing, Egyptian company Outdo specialised in Road Ads and the Egyptian Media Academy.

D-Media also owns 9090 Radio and the DMC channel network that appeared in 2016, and it links Egyptians Media Company with many investment relations. In April 2018, Tamer Moris, chairman of Egyptians Media, announced the selection of D-Media as an advertising agent for the company.

This means that the Emirati withdrawal forced the military and intelligence companies to tighten their control of the media in Egypt, which caused a great shock to a number of media outlets, forcing some of them to close.