CAIRO: Al-Nahar TV channel decided to resume the broadcast of a show presented by controversial anchor Reham Saeed after she breached the privacy of a victim of violence, triggering a hashtag against the decision.
“The Sabaya el-Kheir show will soon resume performing its charitable, patriotic and humanitarian role and will specialize in that without any advertisements or sponsors indefinitely,” a Monday statement by privately-owned Al-Nahar said.
A lawsuit was filed against Saeed by the victim, Somaia, after she accepted to be interviewed in Saeed’s show Sabaya el-Kheir to tell her side of the story of a CCTV video that shows a man slapping her in the face twice last month. The man was sentenced to a month in prison Nov. 7.
However, Saeed broadcast private pictures of Somaia after her interview, claiming she had somehow provoked the offender. The pictures included Somaia in a bikini, and another of her being carried by a man.
Social media played a great part in the suspension of Saeed’s show. An online campaign demanded companies stop sponsoring the show or broadcasting their advertisements during its air time.
One after another, different corporations released statements denying responsibility of the content of the show and announcing they would no longer advertise in the show.
After the new Al-Nahar statement was released, a hashtag dubbed into “removing Al-Nahar channels off the receiver” was tweeted more than 15,000 times.
Al-Nahar noted that commercial goals are no longer part of the show, as it will only focus on charity, adding that the show served as an outlet for “different segments of society that cannot voice their need for help or treatment.”
Such people “have been greatly affected by the decision to suspend the show,” according to the statement.
Although the channel said its decision comes after it concluded investigations into the issue, it asserted it would not disclose the outcome because a lawsuit is ongoing.
The interview with Somaia was only one of Saeed’s highly disputed episodes. Social media users have slammed an earlier episode, where she filmed Syrian refugees in Lebanon flocking around a truck loaded with aid the show had contributed. She was accused of providing the goods “inhumanely.”
She also presented several episodes on girls suffering from “demonic possession.”