385 state TV and radio employees lose jobs to cuts

Minister of Information Osama Heikal on Wednesday dismissed 385 Egyptian Radio and Television Union advisers, including 20 legal consultants, as part of plan to scale back the union's payroll.

According to MENA, the decision is part of a plan to dismiss all advisers working for the different sectors of the union. Around 20 legal advisers at the ERTU received a total of LE1 million in annual salaries, MENA said.

Heikal said advisers will only be recruited in limited cases and upon his approval.

The minister also decided to end the contracts of 365 radio announcers from outside the union who received salaries totaling LE4 million a year.

Informed media sources said these decisions are intended to reduce public spending and should help save the state some LE5 million annually.

Observers say state television and radio recruited an unnecessarily large number of employees during the reign of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, who used this outlet to entrench his rule.

A source within the ERTU also said the large number of employees has impeded the interim government's plans to transform the union into an entity similar to the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The source also said government fears the cuts will prompt protests.

State TV was severely criticized for its coverage of the Egyptian revolution that forced Mubarak to resign.

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