Maspero workers are angry at perceived government interference
Employees at Egypt's iconic state radio and television broadcasting building Maspero have continued anti-government protests, amid disputes over wages and leadership.
Around 1,500 presenters, directors, researchers and crew members took to the streets outside Cairo’s Nile-side Maspero building, carrying banners calling for the removal of Information Minister Salah Abdel Maksoud claiming he is “the Muslim Brotherhood’s minister.”
Abdel Maksoud is a member of Egypt’s ruling Islamist group.
Some workers’ wages have not been paid in four months, fuelling anger against President Mohammed Morsi’s administration.
A statement by director Shukri Abu Emira, reminding workers that other public sector employees are also waiting on late payments, only heightened tensions.
Employees are reportedly frustrated by perceived government interference in Maspero, with Morsi’s administration calling the shots on programming topics and guest bookings.
The president recently imposed austerity measures on channels inside the building, restricting broadcasting hours to 1000 hrs to 2200 hrs daily, in the hope of reducing expenditure and overtime pay.
Cut backs on out-of-studio correspondents and programming schedules also threaten to damage Maspero’s reputation for quality state-run broadcasting.
Demonstrators have threatened “escalatory measures,” including a sit-in and strike, in attempts to secure their demands.