Screenshot for Amany el-Khayat host of the ONTV show Been Al-Sotor (Between The Lines) - February 2018
CAIRO – 16 February 2018: The administrative council of Egypt’s Media Syndicate decided to suspend Amany el-Khayat, host of the ONTV show “Beyn Al-Sotor” (Between the Lines), for one month, and to suspend Ahmed el-Sherif, host of LTC show “Malaab El Sherif” (Sherif’s Pitch), for three weeks, Hamdi al-Konaysi, head of the Media Syndicate, said in a statement on Thursday.
The decision was taken after revising the code of ethics, the code of professional conduct that was issued according to law No.93 of 2016, and the prime minister’s decree No. 573 for year 2017 to establish the founding committee for the Media Syndicate, Konaysi said.
The legal committee concluded in its report proving that Khayat has committed an unprofessional act and national abuses, amounting to the abuse of a sister Arab country in a timely and sensitive manner. Despite being legally informed twice, she did not comply with the investigation before the Legal Committee, which is considered a confession of her mistake.
Khayat’s comments came at the same week as Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi made his first visit to Oman since he took office in 2014. She referred to the Sultanate of Oman as a "small, insignificant princedom," and her comments went viral on social media websites and frustrated many Omanis, who called for immediate legal action against her.
After the outrage occurred, Khayat commented again on the issue, saying, “the Sultanate of Oman is an important country in the Arab Peninsula, being the third largest in landmass, and if the word ‘princedom’ has annoyed the citizens of Oman with noble manners, we apologize to them,” Khayat said on Beyn Al-Sotor.
president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi with Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said al-Said at Muscat, February 4, 2018 - Press Photo
It’s not Khayat’s first time making controversy. Previously on her show, she claimed that Morocco's king made a deal with Islamists in 2011 and that the country's economy is based on prostitution, adding that she directed the audience to search Morocco on Google in terms of AIDS and HIV.
These remarks went massively viral on social media, inciting anger and refusal among Moroccans and Egyptians, and the TV station's owner at that time, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, tweeted back to a Moroccan citizen, apologizing and stressing that he would investigate the incident himself.
Later, Khayat’s show’s official Facebook page posted an apology to the Moroccan government and people for the "misunderstanding" that occurred during the show.
For Ahmed el-Sherif, the committee concluded in its report that his program violated the codes of ethics and professional conduct due to a telephone interview with one of the guests, which included accusations against many public figures without any interference from the announcer to stop the guest or end the interview. Also, despite being legally informed twice, he did not comply with the investigation before the Legal Committee, which is considered a confession of the mistake, Konaysi said.
The ON Live and LTC channels’ files will be forwarded to the Supreme Council for Media Regulations (SCM), and if they allow the TV anchors to appear during the suspension period, they will co-share the responsibility of the violations, according to the SCM’s laws.
The Supreme Council for Media Regulations was established on December 24, 2016 after President Sisi issued Law No. 92 of 2016 on the Institutional Organization of the Press and the Media as an independent body with corporate personality.
The role of the council is to regulate and supervise media outlets in all forms – print, broadcast and electronic – and it establishes the framework and standards necessary to ensure that media outlets abide by the rules and ethics of the profession.
In January 2017, Sisi ratified a law that establishes a media workers’ syndicate, which assigns the rights and duties of its members.