CAIRO: The work of Hamza Namira may have been banned from Egyptian airwaves; Anadolu news agency reported Wednesday that a Nov. 12 decision by radio sector head Abdul Rahman Rashad urged all stations to refrain from broadcasting his work, due to the artist’s political views.
The radio sector did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
An official from news station Radio Masr who requested to remain anonymous, said indeed such a decision was issued but that the station does not fall under the authority of Rashad, and has not received such a notification. The official told The Cairo Post on the phone that the station would broadcast Namira’s song if it wished to.
Rashad accused Namira of “opposing the current regime,” according to Anadolu, which quoted Rashad saying that Namira’s songs mourn the January 25 Revolution in 2011, but that “the singer himself opposes June 30 and considers what happened after a military coup d’etat.”
Namira’s songs with revolutionary themes became popular in recent years, with songs like “Dream With me,” “Ensan” (human) and “The Square.” Namira signed with UK-based Awakening Record in 2004, and had acquired popularity since. “Namira had become a fixture at Tahrir Square and the unofficial “artist of the revolution,” according to a 2012 in-depth report on his career prepared by The Middle East Institute.
This would not be the first time young singers who praised January 25 revolution have faced a crackdown from the authorities for their political stances; another “musician of the revolution,” Ramy Essam, was subject to similar constriction by the state’s security system in 2011.
On Oct. 26, 2011 a concert held by Essam at Cairo University‘s Faculty of Medicine was stopped by university authorities, just hours after the singer was awarded the prestigious Freemuse Award, Ahram reported the next day.
Essam, whom many later claimed he went to Sweden to pledge as a political refugee, recently said he had not fled, but had traveled to pursue his studies and would return, nonetheless finished his tweet by adding “down with the military regime.”
Both singers were opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime as well, like a number of other Egyptian artists who are now being criticized in the media for their political views.
Actor Khaled Abol Naga has been subject to wide criticism for objecting the policies of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his presence the Cairo Film Festival, and has been referred to in the media as a ‘traitor.’
Commenting on the restrictions on Namira, renowned film critic Tarek el-Shenawy told Anadolu that the decision would not harm the singer, but instead reflect negatively on the leaders of the Egyptian media.