6 May 2020


Shady Habash - Egyptian director of video critical of Sisi dies in jail

A young Egyptian film-maker imprisoned for directing a music video critical of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has died in a Cairo jail, his lawyer said Saturday.

Shady Habash, 24, died in Tora prison, said lawyer Ahmed al-Khawaga, who was unable to give a cause of death.

“His health had been deteriorating for several days…. He was hospitalised, then returned to the prison yesterday evening where he died in the night,” he told AFP, without giving further details.

Habash was detained in March 2018, accused of “spreading fake news” and “belonging to an illegal organisation”, according to the prosecution.

He was arrested after having directed the music video for the song “Balaha” by rock singer Ramy Essam.

The song’s lyrics lambast “Balaha” — a name given to Sisi by his detractors in reference to a character in an Egyptian film known for being a notorious liar.

Essam gained popularity during the popular revolt against then-president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. He has since gone into exile in Sweden.

The video has had more than five million views on YouTube.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said in a Twitter post that Habash died as a result of “negligence and lack of justice”.

Human rights groups have regularly highlighted poor prison conditions in Egypt.

In a Thursday statement, PEN America described Habash’s death in custody as “a devastating blow to artistic freedom”.

“With Habash’s death, (Sisi) has sent a disturbing signal to the rest of the world: share views that I disagree with and you might face a de facto death sentence,” said Julie Trebault, director of PEN America’s Artists at Risk program.

Since early March, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, authorities have suspended visits and the work of the courts, further isolating detainees.

“Due to the measures taken against the coronavirus, no-one has been able to see (Habash)” recently, said Khawaga.

Habash himself warned of his predicament back in October, in a letter posted Saturday on Facebook by activist Ahdaf Soueif.

“It’s not prison that kills, it’s loneliness that kills… I’m dying slowly each day,” he wrote.

Fearing the spread of the virus in overcrowded prisons, human rights defenders have called for the release of political prisoners and detainees awaiting trial.

According to several NGOs, an estimated 60,000 detainees in Egypt are political prisoners, including secular activists, journalists, lawyers, academics and Islamists arrested in an ongoing crackdown against dissent since the military’s 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Source: 24 Matins

ZBC appoints Rushwaya as acting CEO

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) board has appointed non-executive director Helliate Rushwaya as acting CEO. Rushwaya is a communications and media training specialist with over 20 years' industry experience in Namibia, the Netherlands and the UK. She was appointed to the ZBC Board in July 2019 and chaired its content, programming and technical Committee.

Rushwaya takes over from Wisdom Hombarume, who reverts to his role as director of digital media and broadcasting technology at ZBC's Pockets Hill head office in Harare. Hombarume had been acting head of ZBC since September 2019 after the departure of substantive CEO Patrick Mavhura.

Rushwaya is a qualified broadcast journalist and holds an MSc International Events Management degree with a focus on Televising Major Events. She has delivered media consultancy for international agencies such as the International Cricket Council (ICC) Television for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers.


Zimbabwe’s Radio Legend Peter Johns Dies

The Zimbabwean radio legend Peter Johns has died at age 60.

The former Radio 3 presenter passed away on Monday at a hospital in London after battling a heart operation and three strokes, friends said.

A childhood friend DJ King Jay said that Johns, also known by the nickname ‘The Radio Driver’, “had been unwell for sometime after a triple bypass heart surgery several years ago.

King Jay tweeted that Peter Johns was arguably Zimbabwe’s finest DJ.

In December 2019, Johns’ eldest son Mark spoke publicly about his father’s health troubles, revealing that he had endured three strokes and a heart attack.

Mark revealed this after Johns was admitted to a hospital in South London.

At the time, Mark said that his father was in a stable condition; however, he could no longer speak or write.

Friends say that he never fully recovered, ultimately drawing the curtain on the life of one of Zimbabwe’s most celebrated radio presenters ever, according to Steve Vickers, one of the many broadcasters who joined the outpouring of tributes on Twitter.

Johns was “suave, gifted and brilliant,” added journalist Brezhnev Malaba.

In 1981, after the official launch of Radio 3, now Power FM, John Matinde who was the Recruitment Manager at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation gave Johns his first break – a temporary slot on Sunday evenings.

Johns would go on to have a successful career – over 20 years on the club scene and also as a radio DJ until he left the ZBC in 2002. Over the years, PJ had built an unmatched cult following with his shows, Monday Mellow Madness and Weekend Love.

The introduction of satellite TV brought another big break for PJ — TV broadcasting. Sponsored shows, such as the music video show Coca-Cola on the Beat, made his star shine even brighter.

PJ left Zimbabwe in 2002, apparently unhappy about restructuring at the ZBC. He moved to England where he studied Digital Broadcasting and Packaging.

Source: ZimLive


CBC TV unveils Rose Rose Sibisi as new CEO

CBC Television has announced the appointment of leading media personality and businesswoman Rose Sibisi as its new Chief Executive Officer.

The dynamic broadcast and communications specialist brings 26 years of corporate experience to the station, which is currently undergoing a business and formatting revamp following the elevation of former CEO Mandesi Kaumba to the Board of CBC TV.

“Zambia’s media landscape has been evolving in recent times, which is a good thing. However, the industry still has more opportunity to adjust to the dynamics of the market and embrace a new model that provides quality content targeted at identifiable market segments. Only then will the industry become sustainable,” said Ms Sibisi, who has acquired shareholding as a managing partner into the station and has pledged to transform the station into a regional player.