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On World Television Day… Learn about the history of television broadcast in Egypt

On November 21, the world celebrates World Television Day, in celebration of the anniversary of the first World Television Forum held by the United Nations at its headquarters in New York on November 21 and 22, 1996. Where prominent figures in the media field met to discuss the increasing importance of television and its role in changing the world, and to find a way to enhance mutual cooperation between the peoples of the world through this media.

The selection of the United Nations as an international day to celebrate television is in recognition of its great role in the dissemination of knowledge, and its desire to transform it from a tool to convey information to public opinion and influence it, into a means that plays an effective role in the social upbringing of young generations, as well as using it to advance countries socially and culturally.

The emergence of television globally and in the Arab world

The American city of New York was the first to know the television transmission service, on August 12, 1928. It used to be for two hours a day, 3 days a week. The National Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, began broadcasting silent images alongside its radio programmes. In 1939 the agency began the first regular television broadcast in the United States, and its first program was an animation programme.

In 1935, Germany knew for the first time the television broadcasting service. While Britain was the first to provide regular television service in 1936, through the BBC, the first institution to provide live broadcasts outside closed studios, broadcasting from Alexandra Palace in London. France was able to make its first television transmission from the Eiffel Tower in 1939. In the same year, television broadcasting began for the first time in Moscow in 1939, and the Soviets took advantage of their leadership in the field of space in transmitting via satellite, and the Moscow station became one of the first television stations to broadcast its programs by satellite to the world.

On the Arab level, Iraq was the first Arab country to know a television transmission service in 1954, when the first Arabic-speaking television station was established in the world. At that time, broadcasting was limited to Baghdad, before it included other areas such as Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk. Then Algeria opened the Algerian TV channel in 1956, which targeted the French community in Algeria, and its broadcast was limited to only three cities: Algiers, Oran and Constantine. Then comes Lebanon, which inaugurated its official television building in 1957, but television broadcasting was delayed until 1959.

Egyptian TV

Egypt was one of the first countries to adopt the idea of television. Where the French Radio and Television Industry conducted the first experiment in television production in Egypt in 1951, when it filmed the festivals held on the occasion of the marriage of King Farouk and Queen Nariman. And the company showed it on a local evening, after it placed the receivers in some clubs in Cairo.

After 3 years, specifically in 1954, Salah Salem, Minister of National Guidance, proposed to President Gamal Abdel Nasser the establishment of a new radio house and television station on Mokattam Mountain. This is what happened, and Egypt took the decision to start broadcasting Egyptian television in 1956, but due to the political circumstances at the time, which were represented by the tripartite aggression, the decision to start broadcasting was delayed until 1959. Where a contract was signed between Egypt and the American Broadcasting Corporation R.C.A, aiming to provide Egypt with a television transmission network, and to send Egyptian missions to train media cadres at the R.C.A Institute in New York State. The establishment of the Radio and Television Center “Maspero” was completed in 1960, which is one of the oldest television institutions in the world.

The first broadcast in Egypt

Egyptian television began transmitting it with one channel, and its experimental broadcast began at seven o’clock in the evening on July 21, 1960, coinciding with the celebration of the eighth anniversary of the July Revolution, so that the first thing Egyptians watched on television was Egypt’s slogan “Eagle”, and broadcasting began with the then Nationa Anthem. “Now we meet again, my weapon,” which was the national anthem for Egypt after the tripartite aggression.

After that, Sheikh Muhammad Siddiq Al-Minshawi recited some verses of the Noble Qur’an. Radio broadcaster Salah Zaki was the first TV presenter to appear on the screen to announce the birth of Arab TV from Cairo. After that, the television broadcast the speech of President Gamal Abdel Nasser in front of the National Assembly on the occasion of the celebrations of the revolution, followed by the radio broadcast of a group of patriotic songs for the great singers, and the linking paragraphs between them were performed on the radio station Hemmat Mustafa .

The first pilot broadcast of Egyptian TV lasted for 6 hours, and was limited to one channel only. The broadcast stopped the next day, so that the Egyptian television was officially opened on Saturday, July 23, 1960. On the same day the following year, broadcast time was extended to 13 hours per day. And the second TV channel began to be broadcast, to be a window on foreign cultures.

The beginning of the color transmission

After the end of the October 1973 war, Egypt began the largest operation to renew transmitters, converting television broadcasts from black and white to colors under the SECAM system, and Egyptian television began broadcasting its color transmission on September 9, 1976. Further improvements were made, and the Egyptian television broadcasting changed again from the SECAM system to the PAL system in 1992.

Regional Ring Road

With the beginning of the eighties, Egyptian television witnessed an engineering and geographical expansion of the field of television coverage. In 1985, the idea of regional channels began, and the transmission of Egyptian television reached all governorates of the country, so the third channel was established, which addresses the Greater Cairo Region (Cairo, Giza, Qalyubia). In 1988, the fourth channel was launched, which addresses the Suez Canal region and includes (Ismailia, Suez, Port Said and Sharqia). In 1990, the experimental broadcast of Channel Five began, which addresses the Alexandria region and includes (Alexandria, Beheira and Matrouh). In 1994, the sixth channel was launched to address the central delta region (Gharbia, Dakahlia, Menoufia, Kafr El-Sheikh and Damietta). In the same year, Channel Seven began broadcasting to address the governorates of northern Upper Egypt (Bani Suef, Minya, Fayoum and Assiut). In 1996, the eighth channel was opened to address the governorates of southern Upper Egypt (Sohag, Qena, Aswan and Luxor).

The era of satellite channels

On December 12, 1990, Egypt began broadcasting the first governmental Arab satellite channel, the “Egyptian Satellite Channel”, which is affiliated with the Egyptian Television Network of the Radio and Television Union. Then the second Egyptian satellite channel appeared, which started as an encrypted channel and entered the paid media in 1996

On May 31, 1998, the experimental broadcast of the specialized Nile channels began, which included 12 channels ranging from sports, news, variety, family, children, health, education and culture.

The struggle of TV and online platforms

The spread of technology in our contemporary society has left a huge impact on traditional media such as radio, television and the press. However, despite the spread of electronic media, especially among young people and young adults, television is still a preferred media for a large segment of people, especially the elderly, as they consider electronic platforms as a tool for interaction between individuals and the expression of private opinions, and not as a means to obtain news with great credibility. . It certainly does not make up for family members gathering together to watch a new series or the evening movie.

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