The latest attempt of recently-elected President Mohamed Morsi to reassure Egyptians that he is determined to serve them all has taken the form of a daily vocal appearance on the radio show The People Ask and the President Answers during the month of Ramadan.
In the weeks preceding Ramadan, a radio advert circulated on state-owned radio channel El-Bernameg Al-Aam 104.7 asking citizens to voice their concerns and demands, to be answered by the president during the month of Ramadan.
The four-minute programme is the first of its kind to be aired in Egypt; the idea was initiated by prominent radio presenter Amal Fahmy. She envisioned a show that could tackle different issues concerning citizens by interviewing them and then giving space for the president to comment.
The choice of the timing of the show, however, has possibly made it difficult to reach a wide audience. With transmission immediately after sunset prayers, most Muslims at this time are gathering to break their fast.
“I have never heard of the show," said Hassan Othman an engineering student. "And I haven't heard anyone mention it."
“The programme has obviously failed to promote itself; a show by a president should definitely have higher exposure,” added Othman.
The student also suggested that the "media blackout" on the show could be intentional, “given the ongoing wave of criticism of Morsi by state-owned media outlets.”
On Tuesday Morsi’s spokesman Yasser Ali stated that the presidential office has filed law suits against two media outlets – which he did not name – for publishing false news concerning the president.
“Such an idea should have been done in a more professional way that would reach more people. It can’t just be during Ramadan, it’s not a TV series,” Othman added.
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